03/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Service: Another Way To Love One Another

Service is an opportunity that everybody has to contribute to the world. It's like breathing in and breathing out. Although we need to breathe in, it's equally important to breathe out. It's important to receive and it's important to give, and to give of ourselves in the way that actually serves who or what is being served. Well, how do we do that?

I've found often that there are people that conclude they don't know what to do. They think, "Well, I'd like to serve. I'd like to help, but I don't know where to go. I don't know what to do."

My question to them is, "What are you doing about that? Are you looking for ways to serve?"

The simplest approach may be asking, "How can I help?"

When we're not giving, a kind of vacuum starts developing within us. It's an emptiness, a sense of being unfulfilled and incomplete. We're not satisfying that aspect of our human condition that needs to find ways to contribute and care for one another.

We all have a responsibility to contribute because this is not a world that's set up to just come in here, take, and leave. Obviously if that's what was going on, our world would be depleting. Eventually, it would be empty. Our world would become something desolate and lacking in life force.

When there's not sufficient caring and regard for ourselves and our neighbors, then things do become depleted and lacking in ways. There's disease, pollution, and corruption. There's pain and suffering. What we need to do is find ways to give back and overcome the sense that we don't know what to do. So it's wise to ask, "What can I do?"

I ask myself if I have the willingness to make myself available to do something that's not about me -- especially when it would be about a situation that could use assistance and I'm there and able to do it. I choose not to look around and say, "Well, couldn't somebody else help because it's not convenient with my agenda or what I had planned?" I choose to serve.

I consider myself to be my brother's keeper. Even if my brother violated me, abused me or was unkind and disrespectful, that's not a reason to be that way myself. At your brother's or sister's time of need, consider if it's in your place to give to them in some way. It's a tremendous measurement of someone's divinity to have the willingness to put aside the injustice or negativity that's in the world and do something to help and uplift.

When someone sees the opportunity to serve and then takes it, my experience is they open themselves up to blessings. Often it is the dynamic between the one who is serving and the one who is being served that brings the greatest rewards. In the Bible, it says "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). In serving someone, we may experience it as having a visitation of that divine presence. Something profound, special, sacred, and holy can take place for both the one choosing to serve and the one receiving the assistance. The blessings are shared.

Part of the test in being of service is to be open to not knowing what we're going to do in order to serve. I'm for approaching service where it isn't necessarily highly organized or detailed. If we get too rigid and regimented about what serving is supposed to be, we don't leave room for the spontaneity and aliveness that comes with the divine presence.

Being of service is something each of us determines for ourselves. The opportunities are at hand. They're often right where we are, even in our own house, neighborhood or community. I see us as being called upon to love one another. I don't look at that as just exclusive to those who are identified with the Christian faith. I consider loving one another as something that all people, regardless of their religion or faith can consider practical. The simple idea of loving one another transcends our identifications or personal histories, the particular natures that we have as individuals that make us unique or different.

I encourage service as a way of demonstrating we are loving and caring for one another. There are qualities in service, in caring and giving to others, that contribute to the upliftment of our world. So we can resolve that, regardless of what we choose to do today, we choose to love one another and do some good. Let's choose to serve in some way.