Tuesday, August 19, 2014


The Role of Self

Vincent Bacote:
It is nice to have restaurants cater to my wishes, and consumer-sensitive customer service can be quite virtuous and good for business. But society can tempt us to apply this message too broadly. Our individual needs are not the greatest value of all. Ever since the fall, it has been easy for humans to pursue life construed as one great selfishness project. If we make our needs and wants the most important things of all, we will be less sensitive or even blind to the needs of others. Service would be among our lowest priorities.
Service is our highest calling. But there is a caveat. Too often we do service in a fashion that is self-aggrandizing. Sometimes we do service not for the good of the other, but for our own good.

That's not service. Service is not just filling the needs we think others have, it is listening to them sufficiently to fill their actual needs. Service must be measured. Service cannot be defined by your terms and limitations, it must be defined by the person being served. "I can only give a week," when a month is called for brings to mind Christ's example of thew woman that gave out of her poverty and the rich man that barely gave at all.

In point of fact, if we give, or serve, because we have and the other does not have, we have missed the idea altogether. Service is not simply not selfish, it should be selfless.


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