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Serving Our Community is everyone’s moral duty

Volunteer service is needed now, more than ever before. Many of us already do this, but if you are looking for some helpful ideas on how to help, here are a few.

To serve humanity is one of the moral duties of every human being, and now, service is needed more than ever before. We have been reminded by all religions, poets and great humanitarians to devote our time and energy to providing service to improve the world for all its citizens. Service also allows us to get to know and connect to like-minded people, organizations, and people of different religions and ideologies. 

Though providing a service may sound like one more commitment to fit into our busy lives, it does not necessarily need to become a big project. It could be a look, gesture, word or action that helps others as an act of service. 

Most of us want to do some service but do not know where to start. So perhaps it is a good idea to revisit this concept and, with the help of the list below, look at the possibilities of service open to you. We can serve in countless ways, and you can explore many other ways to serve your fellow human beings. 

The concept of service is nothing new to most of us since we have a wealth of spiritual teachings on this subject.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45.

And do not forget to do good to one another. – Quran 2:238.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Mahatma Gandhi

Service to humanity is service to God. – Abdu’l-Baha

How else can our world unite if its citizens don’t try to help each other? How else can the sufferings of the world be reduced? The ordinary people of the world like you and me will ultimately make a difference and make this earth a better and more peaceful place - if we take one extra step to help our fellow human beings.

So, let us revisit this concept of service in our lives, and with the help of the list below, look at the many possibilities of service open to us. You can get involved with a service that fulfils your commitment and connects you to the larger community.

This abridged list of service opportunities may help you find a service matching your talent or your passion:

  • Doing one’s job the best way possible is not only a great service—the Baha’i teachings considered it an act of worship.
  • Offering others your best self with a kind gesture, word, or act. Give random acts of kindness: paying for someone in front of you in line, giving your place in line to someone in a rush, presenting a stranger with a bouquet of flowers, mowing the neighbour’s lawn.
  • Visiting and volunteering in senior facilities, group homes and hospitals.
  • Driving people to appointments or shopping and cleaning for your neighbours.
  • Volunteering in women’s centres, treatment facilities, homeless shelters and organizations.
  • Teaching classes: dance, music, art, sports, literacy, computers and many other subjects.
  • Calling or visiting those in need - offering your companionship to people.
  • Teach house repair, appliance repair, or car repair.
  • Helping refugees and newcomers, volunteering with the Welcome Wagon.
  • Offering counselling, medical or legal services.
  • Building the sets, makeup or costumes for plays.
  • And simply remember, in your thoughts and prayers, those who are going through a difficult time in life.

If you approach the opportunity to serve others with pure motives,  kindness and love, you’ll find that the gifts you give will come back to you a thousandfold.

Badi Shams is a Baha’i and a mystic at heart and has an MA in economics; he has published “Economics of the Future” and “Economics of the Future Begins Today” and recently written the books “Random Thoughts of a Mystic Economist” and “Towards a New Spiritual Economic System.” You can find Badi’s website at called “Baha’i Inspired Economics” He is retired from the education system.

You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking at  

*This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, May 25th 2024