Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.Muhammad Ali

While the blog text focuses on helping people you don't know, there are many people in need of differing levels of service. Tutoring might be a way you can be of service to others, whether they be strangers, friends, or family.

What does that mean?
Service to others is a great idea. I’m not talking about “Would you like fries with that?” but actually doing something that helps other people with their lives. Helping someone learn to read. Helping someone kick a bad habit. Helping someone find a ray of hope in their world. Helping someone find shelter when they are cold or a meal when they are hungry.

The quote says that service is how you pay the bills here on earth. I like the way that is worded. It gently reminds us that life is accompanied by responsibilities. It’s not all fun and games, right? This quote urges us to help others in order to pay our way through life. Pay it forward. Karma. Good deeds. Good Turn. The concept is familiar to many people through many different sources. An idea that good can’t be all bad, right?

Why is kindness important?
I will admit that this may seem a stretch, to try to get kindness from service to others, but I believe it’s a good fit if you think about it. How can you be kind without providing at least a small service to someone? I also prefer the kindness approach, as it doesn’t sound as heavy or involved as ‘service.’

If you’ve been thinking your way through this short discussion, you already have a pretty good idea why kindness is important, don’t you? You should have had events in the past where you have helped others, or even been the recipient of kindness from others run through your head. I hope it was inspirational, I know it was for me.

Kindness is a way people help each other, and help themselves. It works both for needs as well as for general social interaction. If you have ever seen an old movie with some very polite people constantly saying small, kind pleasantries, you probably have a better understanding of what I mean. It used to be very common in the British Empire and in many of the Oriental cultures.

Where can I apply this in my life?
What are you planning on doing with your life? Do you think you can get to the end of it and live a happy and fulfilling life without service to others? Even I, as a dedicated introvert and unsocial animal, cannot imagine being fulfilled without showing kindness to others, and being of service. That said, I prefer to do it quietly and unobserved, but that’s just me.

Even something as simple as treating someone with kindness (smiling and saying hello to a stranger or holding a door for them) can make a big difference if they’ve had a rough day. These little things can be done many times each day for many different people, and to me, that’s a big deal.

Other things we can do can involve investments of money or time (depending on which you have in greater abundance). Feeding the hungry, providing clothing those without clothes, helping shelter those in need. These are some of the ‘big ticket’ items that sometimes scare people away when you talk about service.

Even something like feeding the hungry can be done fairly easily and with little effort, if you know how. My son has been volunteering a few hours a month at a local food bank. He has more time than cash, so he helps in the warehouse and in gathering, sorting, and boxing up food for the clients.

When I helped Habitat for Humanity do a rehab on an old house, I had plenty of time but not much money, so I helped by spackling, sanding, and then painting the ceilings (yes, I’m that tall). Later, after Katrina, I donated money to help the people of the Gulf Region, as I had no time. My brother was able to take some time off and go down and help in person.

What you do will all depend on what you can do to help at that point in time. Our lives have cycles, busy times, slack times. Times when we have a little more money than other times. Times when you can do big service projects, and times when you are limited to simple kindnesses.

All that remains is for you to figure out what cycle you are in for time, money, and effort. Once you have those parameters sorted out, all you have to do now is select your outlet. Where will you be of service to others? Will it be a big project, or a series of kindnesses? Now that the decision is made, you need but take the first step, the down payment if you will, on your rent. 8)

From: Twitter, @lancearmstrong
confirmed at :
Photo by Wonderlane

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5 Responses to Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

  1. ETM 11 June 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    The first person to make this statement was Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to ever run for the Presidency of the USA on a major ticket in the 70,s I think. She was from New York.

    • philosiblog 13 June 2016 at 6:33 am #

      Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment.

      From what I have been able to research (and I welcome a better source, if you have one), your comment is close. The nearest matches I found in a necessarily brief search are as follows:

      “Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” — Shirley Chisholm, African American politician and activist

      “Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.” — Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund

      Ali was well read and quite intelligent, and could well have heard of her and such comments. I don’t have a firm date on when he first said it, nor when she said it, but one may have influenced the other. Then again, it is a universal theme, and they may have come to this conclusion independently. I don’t have the time to continue on such research, but would welcome any help you could provide.


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