Using our gifts to be of service is the fullest expression of our lives. Each day, we find a multitude of ways to be useful. Whatever we may achieve, the quality of our own life comes from the quality of our contribution. First and foremost we serve our loved ones. We notice what others need, discover their wishes, and respond helpfully. We don’t wait to be asked. A spirit of service invests whatever we do with excellence. We give our very best effort. People who want to be of service can change the world.


Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve… You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

 The Practice of Service

  • I look for opportunities to be useful.
  • I work with wholehearted enthusiasm.
  • I do thoughtful things for my family and friends.
  • I don’t wait to be asked when something needs doing.
  • I give freely of my time and attention.
  • I use my gifts to make a difference in the world.
Definitions and practices of virtue are used with permission from the Virtues Project™.

In Family Life

The virtue of service within a family manifests as a selfless commitment to supporting and caring for one another’s needs and well-being. It is demonstrated through acts of kindness, empathy, and sacrifice, where family members prioritize the collective good over individual interests.

This can include taking on household chores without being asked, providing emotional support during difficult times, offering a listening ear without judgment, and celebrating each other’s achievements with genuine joy. Service in a family fosters an environment of trust, cooperation, and love where everyone feels valued and understood, contributing to the overall harmony and resilience of the family unit.

Balancing Service

To maintain a healthy balance with the virtue of Service, it’s important to cultivate other virtues.

      • Self-Care: Prioritizing self-care ensures individuals have the physical and emotional reserves to serve others effectively. It involves taking time for rest, relaxation, and personal growth.
      • Compassion: Developing compassion allows individuals to empathize with others’ needs and desires without sacrificing their own well-being. Compassion encourages a balanced approach to service, where one helps others while considering their own needs.
      • Wisdom: Wisdom helps individuals discern when and how to be of service. It involves making informed and thoughtful choices about where and how to channel one’s energy for the greatest positive impact.
      • Gratitude: Practicing gratitude reminds individuals of the value of service and its fulfillment. It helps prevent feelings of resentment that can arise from overextending oneself.
      • Courage: Courage is essential for setting healthy boundaries and saying no when necessary. It prevents individuals from becoming overwhelmed by excessive demands on their time and energy.

Service is noble and fulfilling; balancing serving others and caring for oneself is essential. By cultivating complementary virtues, individuals can harness the power of Service without falling into the traps of overdevelopment or underdevelopment, ultimately leading to a more meaningful and balanced life.