What is the meaning of life?
Philosophical and religious inquiries point people in many directions. Yet there’s at least one commonality: an examined life is built on love.
A universal injunction is conveyed in 1 Corinthians 14:1: Pursue Love.
Here English lets us down. Oddly for such a rampantly vital language, it’s bereft in expressing the many varieties of love. One word is tasked with conveying the plethora of notions of love, ranging from romantic, to filial, to parental, to patriotic, to friendship, to comradeship, etc.
Service is love in action. Its binding element is kindness. As Robert Louis Stevenson observed, “The essence of love is kindness; and indeed it may best be defined as passionate kindness: kindness, so to speak, run mad and become importunate and violent.”
As individuals, we may differ in our understanding of the meaning of life. What endures, across time and place, is that service to others is a key to creating a life of meaning. The greater the capacity to serve—to love—the more one brings the energy of the universe to bear. The individual’s experience is transformed into a medium for larger forces.
Albert Schweitzer provided an enduring summation: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
That is meaning enough for anyone, for everyone.
~James Strock is an entrepreneur, professional speaker, and former senior-level public official. He is founder at Serve to Lead Group
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