Meaningful service to humanity

Flora Teckie

Flora Teckie

Published Jul 10, 2024


Flora Teckie

To be of service to humanity is a tool for spiritual growth, and is instrumental in personal transformation.

Engaging oneself in meaningful service to humanity, participating in building a better society, and co-operation are requirements for social cohesion.

According to the Bahá’í Writings: “The supreme need of humanity is co-operation and reciprocity. The stronger the ties of fellowship and solidarity amongst men, the greater will be the power of constructiveness and accomplishment in all the planes of human activity.”

When we serve others with pure intentions, in addition to positive results for those we help, it also immensely enriches our own lives. Serving others should not be motivated by the hope of recognition or reward. This impulse should be motivated by the love of God.

Humanity has reached a new level of maturity, and it is now possible to create societies founded upon co-operation, trust, and genuine concern for one another.

Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, states: “That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. The Great Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth.”

Not only does service provide immediate benefits to society, but it also creates bonds of solidarity and common purpose among those involved.

Serving humanity is not without challenges. It involves accepting a degree of discomfort and sacrifice for the well-being and happiness of others. It is a choice we make to change our lives from being a predominately self-interested one, to one of caring for, and serving, others.

It is important to train our children in the principle of service to humanity. When service is coupled with the acquisition of practical skills and technology, it will open many possibilities for their own development and for the advancement of society. Leadership of tomorrow must be guided by universal values, including an ethic of service to the common good. It should find its highest expression in service to others.

According to a statement of the Bahá’í International Community, “Successful education will cultivate virtue as the foundation for personal and collective well-being, and will nurture in individuals a deep sense of service and an active commitment to the welfare of their families, their communities, their countries, indeed, all mankind.”

Our children should learn from the beginning the needs and aspirations of their local communities, and school curricula should help develop those skills and capacities that make the acts of service meaningful and effective.

Children need to be conscious of the interconnectedness of the many aspects in life and avoid a fragmented approach. For example, to think that they should first complete their studies and then serve their communities is a fragmented approach.

Such an approach can continue when the need for them to work and earn their living arises or when they have to look after their families – perhaps waiting for ever for the right conditions to start serving humanity.

Such an approach is usually a result of defining education in terms of book learning alone. Once we start seeing service to others as an arena in which knowledge is applied, and through which the intellect is developed, then we consider service not only part of, but central to, any preparation children would make for their future.

Similar approach should apply for studying the Word of God. Such study should lead to genuine concern for society and promotion of the best interests of humanity.

Teckie is a professional architect, a Bahá’í Faith follower, and spiritual columnist