Theoquest | 21 Steps: Step 17

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Step 17: Serving Others 

We are working together with greater initiative and enthusiasm to serve our fellows in lasting ways, recognizing that we thus serve and honor our Father in heaven.

Faith is the foundation of our spiritual lives, but service to others is its expression. Through God’s leading, every day can open hearts, inspire minds, and leave others better by our presence.

For whom should we live, if not for others? Is life’s purpose but to lay up redundant treasures for profligate heirs to squander? Only what we do for others lasts, the rest is dust and ashes, temples to be ravaged by looters or buried in desert sand. The bridge we build–for what purpose if no one crosses? Our only lasting possessions, our treasures in heaven, are those things we do for others.

We can only truly serve by love, for without love our gestures are empty, paisley rags cast by the stream side. To find our service we must ask the Father to show us our part in his plans, for he has designed each of us to fulfill a particular work that he may disclose in an intuition of deep calling or perhaps in the unfolding of opportunities. Until opened, the door to our service may look like many others, but the Father’s hand will guide us to that which we may make our own and to that which can become our destiny.

Service is faith’s expression, and faith is service’s fuel. The stronger our faith, the greater our desire to carry out this service in effective and lasting ways.

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One of the most important lessons to be learned during your mortal career is teamwork. . . . Few are the duties in the universe for the lone servant. The higher you ascend, the more lonely you become when temporarily without the association of your fellows. 28:5.14

Service--purposeful service, not slavery--is productive of the highest satisfaction and is expressive of the divinest dignity. Service--more service, increased service, difficult service, adventurous service, and at last divine and perfect service--is the goal of time and the destination of space. But ever will the play cycles of time alternate with the service cycles of progress. 28:6.17

When the spiritual tests of greatness are applied, the moral elements are not disregarded, but the quality of unselfishness revealed in disinterested labor for the welfare of one's earthly fellows, particularly worthy beings in need and in distress, that is the real measure of planetary greatness. 28:6.20

You will learn that you increase your burdens and decrease the likelihood of success by taking yourself too seriously. Nothing can take precedence over the work of your status sphere--this world or the next. Very important is the work of preparation for the next higher sphere, but nothing equals the importance of the work of the world in which you are actually living. But though the work is important, the self is not. When you feel important, you lose energy to the wear and tear of ego dignity so that there is little energy left to do the work. Self-importance, not work-importance, exhausts immature creatures; it is the self element that exhausts, not the effort to achieve. You can do important work if you do not become self-important; you can do several things as easily as one if you leave yourself out. 48:6.26

And when a human being does find God, there is experienced within the soul of that being such an indescribable restlessness of triumph in discovery that he is impelled to seek loving service-contact with his less illuminated fellows, not to disclose that he has found God, but rather to allow the overflow of the welling-up of eternal goodness within his own soul to refresh and ennoble his fellows. Real religion leads to increased social service. 102:3.4

"Always remember that God does not reward man for what he does but for what he is; therefore should you extend help to your fellows without the thought of rewards. Do good without thought of benefit to the self." 131:8.5

When Jesus heard this, he said: "Be willing, then, to take up your responsibilities and follow me. Do your good deeds in secret; when you give alms, let not the left hand know what the right hand does." 140:6.11

The Master fully realized that certain social results would appear in the world as a consequence of the spread of the gospel of the kingdom; but he intended that all such desirable social manifestations should appear as unconscious and inevitable outgrowths, or natural fruits, of this inner personal experience of individual believers, this purely spiritual fellowship and communion with the divine spirit which indwells and activates all such believers. 170:5.12

"To every one who has, more shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him who has not, even that which he has shall be taken away. You cannot stand still in the affairs of the eternal kingdom. My Father requires all his children to grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. You who know these truths must yield the increase of the fruits of the spirit and manifest a growing devotion to the unselfish service of your fellow servants. And remember that, inasmuch as you minister to one of the least of my brethren, you have done this service to me." 176:3.5

Jesus taught that service to one's fellows is the highest concept of the brotherhood of spirit believers. Salvation should be taken for granted by those who believe in the fatherhood of God. The believer's chief concern should not be the selfish desire for personal salvation but rather the unselfish urge to love and, therefore, serve one's fellows even as Jesus loved and served mortal men. 188:4.9

In winning souls for the Master, it is not the first mile of compulsion, duty, or convention that will transform man and his world, but rather the second mile of free service and liberty-loving devotion that betokens the Jesusonian reaching forth to grasp his brother in love and sweep him on under spiritual guidance toward the higher and divine goal of mortal existence. Christianity even now willingly goes the first mile, but mankind languishes and stumbles along in moral darkness because there are so few genuine second-milers--so few professed followers of Jesus who really live and love as he taught his disciples to live and love and serve.

The call to the adventure of building a new and transformed human society by means of the spiritual rebirth of Jesus' brotherhood of the kingdom should thrill all who believe in him as men have not been stirred since the days when they walked about on earth as his companions in the flesh. 195:10.5&6


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