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For love of God, cheerfully endure everything — labour, sorrow, temptation, provocation, anxiety, necessity, weakness, injury and insult; censure, humiliation, disgrace, contradiction and contempt. All these things foster your growth in virtue, for they test the unproved servant of Christ, and form the jewels of his heavenly crown.

[Pro amore Dei debes omnia libenter subire , labores scilicet et dolores, tentationes et vexationes, anxietates et necessitates , infirmitates , injurias, oblocutiones , reprehensiones, humiliationes, confusiones, correctiones et despectiones. Haec juvant ad virtutem , haec probant Christi tironem, haec fabricant coelestem coronam.]

Thomas von Kempen
Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German-Dutch priest, author
The Imitation of Christ [De Imitatione Christi], Book 3, ch. 5, v. 2 (3.5.2) (c. 1418-27) [tr. Sherley-Price (1952)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For the love of God thou oughtest to suffer gladly all things, that is to say, all labours, sorrows, temptations, vexations, anguishes, neediness, sickness, injuries, evil sayings, reprovings, oppressions, confusions, corrections, and despisings. These help a man greatly to virtue, these prove the true knight of Christ, and make ready for him the heavenly crown.
[tr. Whitford/Raynal (1530/1871)]

You ought gladly to suffer all things for the love of God: all labors, sorrows, temptations, vexations; all anguish, need, sickness, injuries, evil sayings, reproaches; all oppressions, confusions, corrections, and despisings. These greatly help a man to virtue; these prove the true knight of Christ and prepare for him a heavenly crown.
[tr. Whitford/Gardiner (1530/1955)]

Thou oughtest for the love of God willingly to undergoe whatsoever labours, to endure whatsoever griefes, temptations, vexations, anxieties, necessities, infirmities, onjuries, detractions, reprehensions, humiliations, confusions, corrections, and contempts. These helpe to the attaining of vertue: these try a Novice of Christ, these make up an heavenly Crowne.
[tr. Page (1639), 3.35.8-9]

In obedience to his Will, you should contentedly undergo Labour and Toil, Tryals and Troubles, Distress and Anguish of Heart, Poverty and Want, Infirmities and Diseases, Injuries and Affronts, Scandal and Reproach, Disparagement and Disgrace, Punishment and Torture. These whet and brighten a Christian's Virtue, exercise and distinguish him. These Thorns are woven into Wreaths of Glory.
[tr. Stanhope (1696; 1706 ed.), 3.40]

For the love of God, therefore, thou must cheerfully and patiently endure labor and sorrow, persecution, temptation, and anxiety, poverty, and want, pain and sickness, detraction, reproof, humiliation, confusion, correction and contempt. By these the virtues of the new man Christ Jesus are exercised and strengthened; these form the ornaments of his celestial crown.
[tr. Payne (1803), 3.27.8]

For the love of God thou oughtest cheerfully to undergo all things, that is to say, all labour and pain, temptation, vexation, anxiety, necessity, infirmity, injury, obloquy, reproof, humiliation, confusion, correction, and scorn [of every kind and degree.] These help to virtue; these are the trial of a novice in Christ; these frame the heavenly Crown.
[ed. Parker (1841)]

For the love of GOD, therefore, thou must cheerfully and patiently endure all things: labour and sorrow, temptation, vexation and anxiety, poverty and want, pain and sickness, detraction, reproof, humiliation, confusion, correction, and contempt. These help to virtue; these prove "the new man in Christ Jesus; these obtain for him the celestial crown.
[tr. Dibdin (1851), 3.31.2]

Thou must be willing, for the love of God, to suffer all things, viz., labours and sorrows, temptations and vexations, anxieties, necessities, sicknesses, injuries, obloquy, reproof, humiliation, shame, correction, and contempt. These things help to obtain virtue; these prove the young soldier of Christ; these weave a heavenly crown.
[ed. Bagster (1860)]

For the love of God thou must willingly undergo all things, whether labours or sorrows, temptations, vexations, anxieties, necessities, infirmities, injuries, gainsayings, rebukes, humiliations, confusions, corrections, despisings; these things help unto virtue, these things prove the scholar of Christ; these things fashion the heavenly crown.
[tr. Benham (1874)]

For the love of God thou oughtest cheerfully to undergo all labour, grief, temptation, vexation, anxiety, necessity, infirmity, injury, detraction, reproof, humiliation, shame, correction, and scorn. These help to virtue; these are the trial of a babe in Christ; of these consist the heavenly crown.
[tr. Anon. (1901)]

For love of God you should undergo all things cheerfully, all labors and sorrows, temptations and trials, anxieties, weaknesses, necessities, injuries, slanders, rebukes, humiliations, confusions, corrections, and contempt. For these are helps to virtue. These are the trials of Christ's recruit. These form the heavenly crown.
[tr. Croft/Bolton (1940)]

For love of God you should undergo everything cheerfully: for example, toils and pains, trials, vexations, anxieties, wants, sickness, wrongs, contradictions, reproofs, humiliations, distresses, corrections, and contempt. These are aids to character: these test the soldier of Christ: these shape the heavenly crown.
[tr. Daplyn (1952)]

For the love of God you ought to endure with gladness all that befalls you: toil and sorrow, temptations, afflictions, anxiety, want, weakness, injury and slander, rebuke, humiliation, shame, correction and scorn. All these things are aids to holiness; they test the man who has newly entered the service of Christ, and go to the making of his heavenly crown.
[tr. Knox-Oakley (1959)]

For love of God you should be prepared to endure anything -- toil, pain, temptation, vexation, anxiety, need, weakness, injustice, slander, blame, humiliation, shame, censure and contempt. Such things strengthen virtue; they test the soldier of Christ and make up his heavenly crown.
[tr. Knott (1962)]

The love of God should make you put up with everything: toil and sorrow, trials, annoyance, anxiety, restriction, weakness, injury, detraction, criticism, humiliation, shame, correction and contempt. These are aids to virtue. They are tests for one newly committed to Christ. They are the things that make up the heavenly crown.
[tr. Rooney (1979)]

Certainly you should willingly endure labor and sorrows, temptations, vexations, anxieties, necessities, illnesses, injuries, contradictions, rebukes, humiliations, doubts, chastisements and contempt. These things are all aids to virtue; these test one who has begun to follow Christ; these mold a heavenly crown.
[tr. Creasy (1989)]

 
Added on 4-Oct-23 | Last updated 4-Oct-23
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More quotes by Thomas a Kempis

To show lack of consideration for those who in any capacity serve us — whether in restaurants, hotels, or stores, or in public places anywhere — is always an evidence of ill-breeding as well as inexcusable selfishness. It is only those who are afraid that someone may encroach upon their exceedingly insecure dignity who show neither courtesy nor consideration except to those whom they think it would be to their advantage to please.

Emily Post (1872-1960) American author, columnist [née Price]
Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage, ch. 8 “Entertaining at a Restaurant” (1922; 1955 10th ed.)
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See also Paul Eldridge.
 
Added on 7-Sep-23 | Last updated 7-Sep-23
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Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
A Window in Thrums, ch. 18 “Leeby and Jamie” (1890)
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Added on 18-Jan-23 | Last updated 18-Jan-23
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Mere politicians wish the country to do something for them; true patriots desire to do something for their country.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
Decoration Day Speech, Academy of Music, New York City (29 May 1882)
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Added on 15-Jul-22 | Last updated 15-Jul-22
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What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Middlemarch, Book 8, ch. 72 [Dorothea] (1871)
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Added on 19-May-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
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I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.

Margaret Mead (1901-1978) American anthropologist
Some Personal Views (1979)
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Added on 25-Feb-22 | Last updated 25-Feb-22
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In the great fulfillment we must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it and more anxious about what it can do for the nation.

Warren G Harding
Warren G. Harding (1865-1923) American journalist, politician, US President (1921-23)
Speech, Republican National Convention (7 Jun 1916)

See Holmes, Kennedy. Harding was, at that time, a US Senator. The line, in Harding's hand, is on display at his home in Marion, Ohio.
 
Added on 19-Jan-22 | Last updated 19-Jan-22
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In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Inaugural Address (20 Jan 1961) [with Ted Sorensen]
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Added on 13-Jan-22 | Last updated 15-Jul-22
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Don’t be afraid to thank a servant. Do so quietly, but unmistakably, whenever thanks are in order.

Minna Antrim
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Don’ts for Bachelors and Old Maids (1908)
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Added on 5-Nov-21 | Last updated 5-Nov-21
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Others, as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
“On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” (1849)
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Added on 24-Mar-21 | Last updated 24-Mar-21
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Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are god.

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) English intellectual, polemicist, socio-political critic
The Portable Atheist, Introduction (2007)
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Added on 9-Mar-21 | Last updated 9-Mar-21
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Your calling is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

Frederick Buechner (b. 1926) American minister, author
The Hungering Dark (1969)
 
Added on 3-Feb-21 | Last updated 3-Feb-21
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And that comrade
who meets his death and destiny, speared or stabbed,
let him die! He dies fighting for fatherland —
no dishonor there!

[ὃς δέ κεν ὑμέων
βλήμενος ἠὲ τυπεὶς θάνατον καὶ πότμον ἐπίσπῃ
τεθνάτω: οὔ οἱ ἀεικὲς ἀμυνομένῳ περὶ πάτρης
τεθνάμεν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 15, l. 494ff (15.494) [Hector] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 574ff]
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Original Greek. Alternate translations:

If any bravely buy
His fame or fate with wounds or death, in Jove’s name let him die.
Who for his country suffers death, sustains no shameful thing,
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 452ff]

Death is the worst; a fate which all must try;
And for our country 'tis a bliss to die.
The gallant man, though slain in fight he be,
Yet leaves his nation safe, his children free;
Entails a debt on all the grateful state;
His own brave friends shall glory in his fate.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Therefore stand fast, and whosoever gall’d
By arrow or by spear, dies -- let him die;
It shall not shame him that he died to serve
His country.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 599ff]

Whichever of you, wounded or stricken, shall draw on his death and fate, let him die; it is not inglorious to him to die fighting for his country.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

And if there be among you, who this day
Shall meet his doom, by sword or arrow slain,
E’en let him die! a glorious death is his
Who for his country falls.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

If any of you is struck by spear or sword and loses his life, let him die; he dies with honour who dies fighting for his country.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

If so be any of you, smitten by dart or thrust, shall meet death and fate, let him lie in death. No unseemly thing is it for him to die while fighting for his country.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

And if one finds
his death, his end, in some spear-thrust or cast,
then that is that, and no ignoble death
for a man defending his own land.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]
 
Added on 27-Jan-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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I am heartily rejoiced that my term is so near its close. I will soon cease to be a servant and will become a sovereign.

James K. Polk (1795-1849) American lawyer, politician, US President (1845-1849)
Diary (1849-02-13)
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Added on 11-Nov-20 | Last updated 27-Mar-23
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I give it as my firmest conviction that service to a just cause rewards the worker with more real happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life.

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) American women's suffrage activist
“The Making of A Pioneer Suffragette,” in The American Scrap Book (1928)
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Added on 24-Sep-20 | Last updated 24-Sep-20
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DEXTER: You know, before I got married, Emily used to come by sometimes and help me clean out my apartment. Well, I asked her, “How come you’re so eager to help clean up my place when your place is just as bad?” She said, “Because cleaning up your place helps me to forget what a mess I’ve made of mine, and — when I sweep my floor, all I’ve done is sweep my floor. But, when I help you clean up your place, I am helping you.”

J. Michael (Joe) Straczynski (b. 1954) American screenwriter, producer, author [a/k/a "JMS"]
Babylon 5, 3×20 “And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place” (14 Oct 1996)
 
Added on 27-Aug-20 | Last updated 27-Aug-20
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The author is like the host at a party. It is his party, but he must not enjoy himself so much that he neglects his guests. His enjoyment is not so much his own as it is theirs.

Charles P. Curtis (1891-1959) American attorney, legal scholar, author [Charles Pelham Curtis, Jr.]
A Commonplace Book (1957)
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Added on 20-Sep-19 | Last updated 20-Sep-19
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Americans rightly think their patriotism is a sort of religion strengthened by practical service.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French writer, diplomat, politician
Democracy in America, Vol. 1, “Public Spirit of the Townships of New England” (1835)
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Alt. trans.: "For in the United States it is believed, and with truth, that patriotism is a kind of devotion which is strengthened by ritual observance." [tr. Reeve (1839)]
 
Added on 14-Nov-18 | Last updated 14-Nov-18
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If you want that good feeling that comes from doing things for other folks then you have to pay for it in abuse and misunderstanding.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) American writer, folklorist, anthropologist
Moses, Man of the Mountain [Moses] (1939)
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Added on 10-Jan-18 | Last updated 10-Jan-18
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God is pleased with no music from below so much as in the thanksgiving songs of relieved widows, of supported orphans, of rejoicing, and comforted, and thankful persons.

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) English cleric and author
Sermon 25, “The Duties of the Tongue,” Part 4 [Eph. 4:29]
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Added on 5-Jul-17 | Last updated 5-Jul-17
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What the people wanted was a government which would provide a comfortable life for them, and with this as the foremost object ideas of freedom and self-reliance and service to the community were obscured to the point of disappearing. Athens was more and more looked on as a co-operative business possessed of great wealth in which all citizens had a right to share. […] Athens had reached the point of rejecting independence, and the freedom she now wanted was freedom from responsibility. There could be only one result. […] If men insisted on being free from the burden of a life that was self-dependent and also responsible for the common good, they would cease to be free at all. Responsibility was the price every man must pay for freedom. It was to be had on no other terms.

Edith Hamilton (1867-1963) American educator, author, classicist
The Echo of Greece, ch. 2 “Athens’ Failure” (1957)
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Added on 4-Jul-17 | Last updated 4-Jul-17
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“Which of them shall be accounted greatest?” Let the churches stop trying to outstrip each other in the number of their adherents, the size of its sanctuary, the abundance of wealth. If we must compete let us compete to see which can move toward the greatest attainment of truth, the greatest service of the poor, and the greatest salvation of the soul and bodies of men. If the Church entered this kind of competition we can imagine what a better world this would be.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“Cooperative Competition / Noble Competition,” sermon outline
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Added on 30-Dec-16 | Last updated 30-Dec-16
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Now Jesus himself saw the power that competition holds over men. He did not ignore it. Yet he does something with the conception of competition that hadn’t been done before. He takes the conception which has been used for lower purposes and rescues it from many of its dangers, by suggesting a higher method of its use. This is how he applied the term to his disciples. He saw them in danger of using it for low purposes. They wanted to compete for reputation and position — “which of them should be accounted greatest?” Jesus says so, if you must use the power of competition, if you must compete with on another, make it as noble as you can by using it on noble things. Use it for a fine, unselfish thing. “He that is greatest among you shall serve.” Use it for human good. Who shall be the most useful. Compete with one another in humility. See which can be the truest servant. It seems that Christ says, “Use it, but use it for higher and holier purposes. Use it not to surpass one another in esteem, but use it to increase the amount of usefulness and brother-help.” Such conceptions of competition lead to the surprising and ennobling position that there can be competition without hate and jealousy. Behold! You can struggle to beat and yet rejoice to be beaten.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“Cooperative Competition / Noble Competition,” sermon outline
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Added on 23-Nov-16 | Last updated 23-Nov-16
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Rich people show their appreciation through favors. When everyone you know has more money than they know what to do with, money stops being a useful transactional tool. So instead you offer favors. Deals. Quid pro quos. Things that involve personal involvement rather than money. Because when you’re that rich, your personal time is your limiting factor.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
Lock In (2014)
 
Added on 4-Oct-16 | Last updated 4-Oct-16
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Serve self you serve society.
Serve society serve yourself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Notebook F, #1, p. 28 (1836-1840)
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Added on 19-Sep-16 | Last updated 14-Mar-22
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He serves his party best who serves the country best.

Hayes - serves his party best - wist_info quote

Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893) American attorney, soldier, politician, US President (1877-81)
Inaugural address (5 Mar 1877)
 
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Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will.

St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) Basque noble, priest, theologian [Ignazio Loiolakoa]
Prayer of St Ignatius Loyola
 
Added on 8-Oct-15 | Last updated 8-Oct-15
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It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Bob Dylan (b. 1941) American singer, songwriter
“Gotta Serve Somebody” (1979)
 
Added on 25-Sep-15 | Last updated 25-Sep-15
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He that feeds the hungry feeds God also.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
(Unreferenced)
 
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To serve the Public faithfully, and at the same time please it entirely, is impracticable.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard’s Almanack (Oct 1758)
 
Added on 17-Jul-15 | Last updated 17-Jul-15
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If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Thaxter (29 Sep 1778)
 
Added on 26-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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And so Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness. If you want to be important — wonderful. If you want to be recognized — wonderful. If you want to be great — wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness. And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“The Drum Major Instinct,” sermon, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta (4 Feb 1968)
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He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

The Bible (The New Testament) (AD 1st - 2nd C) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 23:11-12
 
Added on 3-Apr-15 | Last updated 3-Apr-15
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I believe I have already said that our goal is not to proselytize but to listen to needs, desires and disappointments, despair, hope. We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace.

Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
“How the Church Will Change,” interview with Eugenio Scalfari, La Repubblica (1 Oct 2013) [tr. K Wallace]
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Added on 29-Oct-14 | Last updated 29-Oct-14
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People who serve you without love get even behind your back.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) American poet
Remark to author (18 May 1888), in Horace Traubel, Walt Whitman’s Camden Conversations, ed. W Teller (1973)
 
Added on 3-Feb-14 | Last updated 3-Feb-14
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He rises by lifting others.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“Liberty”
 
Added on 30-Dec-13 | Last updated 30-Dec-13
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There is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of a good cause.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“A Message to My Adopted Country,” Pageant (Jan 1946)
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Later reprinted as "The Negro Question."
 
Added on 9-Dec-13 | Last updated 21-Feb-21
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To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) American writer
“Men and Women,” To My Daughters, with Love (1967)
 
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The greatest favors may be done so awkwardly and so bunglingly as to offend; and disagreeable things may be done so agreeably as almost to oblige.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son, #249 (7 Apr 1751)
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If you work for a man, in heaven’s name work for him! If he pays you wages that supply you your bread and butter, work for him — speak well of him, think well of him, stand by him and stand by the institution he represents. I think if I worked for a man I would work for him. I would not work for him a part of the time, and the rest of the time work against him. I would give an undivided service or none.

If put to the pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American writer, businessman, philosopher
“Get Out or Get in Line,” Selected Writings of Elbert Hubbard (1928)
 
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Human life consists in mutual service. No grief, pain, misfortune, or “broken heart,” is excuse for cutting off one’s life while any power of service remains. But when all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one.

Gilman - quick and easy death - wist_info

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) American sociologist, writer, reformer, feminist
Suicide note (17 Aug 1935)
 
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I believe that the public temper is such that the voters of the land are prepared to support the party which gives the best promise of administering the government in the honest, simple, and plain manner which is consistent with its character and purposes. They have learned that mystery and concealment in the management of their affairs cover tricks and betrayal. The statesmanship they require consists in honesty and frugality, a prompt response to the needs of the people as they arise, and a vigilant protection of all their varied interests.

Grover Cleveland (1837–1908) American President (1885–1889, 1893–1897)
Letter accepting Democratic nomination for President (8 Aug 1884)
    (Source)
 
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And he gave it for his opinion, that whosoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
Gulliver’s Travels, ch. 6 “Voyage to Brobdingnag” (1726)
 
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When Jesus painted that symbolic picture of the great assize, he made it clear that the norm for determining the division between the sheep and the goats would be deeds done for others. One will not be asked how many academic degrees he obtained or how much money he acquired, but how much he did for others. Did you feed the hungry? Did you give a cup of cold water to the thirsty? Did you clothe the naked? Did you visit the sick and minister to the imprisoned? In a sense, every day is judgment day, and we, through our deeds and words, our silence and speech, are constantly writing in the Book of Life.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Strength to Love, ch. 9 “Three Dimensions of a Complete Life,” sec. 2 (1963)
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Chi-lu asked how the spirits of the dead and the gods should be served. The Master said, “You are not able even to serve man. How can you serve the spirits?”

[季路問事鬼神。子曰、未能事人、焉能事鬼。]

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 11, verse 12 (11.12) (6th C. BC – AD 3rd C.) [tr. Lau (1979)]
    (Source)

Brooks (below) suggests that this passage was interpolated into Book 11 around the time of Book 16. This analect was originally numbered 11.11 by Legge and other early translators (as noted below). (Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations:

Chi Lu asked about serving the spirits of the dead. The Master said, "While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve their spirits?"
[tr. Legge (1861), 11.11]

Tszlu propounded a question about ministering to the spirits ((of the departed). The Master replied, "Where there is scarcely the ability to minister to living men, how shall there be ability to minister to the spirits?"
[tr. Jennings (1895), 11.11]

A disciple (the intrepid Chung Yu) enquired how one should behave towards the spirits of dead men. Confucius answered, "We cannot as yet do our duties to living men; why should we enquire about our duties to dead men?"
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898), 11.11]

When Chi Lu asked about his duty to the spirits the Master replied: "While still unable to do your duty to the living, how can you do your duty to the dead?"
[tr. Soothill (1910), 11.11]

Chi Lu asked about the service for ghosts and spirits. Confucius said, You cannot be useful to the living, how can you be useful to (serve) ghosts?
[tr. Pound (1933), 11.11]

Tsu-lu asked how one should serve ghosts and spirits. The master said, Till you have learnt to serve men, how can you serve ghosts?
[tr. Waley (1938), 11.11]

You can’t treat spirits and divinities properly before you are able to treat your fellow men properly.
[tr. Ware (1950)]

Zilu asked about serving ghosts and spirits. The Master said: "If one is not yet capable of serving men, how can one serve ghosts?"
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

Zilu asked how to serve the spirits and gods. The Master said: "You are not yet able to serve men, how could you serve the spirits?"
[tr. Leys (1997)]

When Ji-lu asked how to serve the spirits and gods, the Master said, "You cannot serve men yet; how can you serve the spirits?"
[tr. Huang (1997)]

Jilu asked how to service the gods, Confucius said: "One could not service the human beings yet, how could one service the gods?"
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), #272]

Zilu asked how to serve the spirits and the gods. The master replied, "Not yet being able to serve other people, how would you be able to serve the spirits?"
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]

Jì-Lì asked about serving ghosts and spirits. The Master said, You cannot yet serve men, how could you serve ghosts?
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998)]

When Adept Lu asked about serving ghosts and spirits, the Master said, "You haven't learned to serve the living, so how could you serve ghosts?"
[tr. Hinton (1998)]

Zilu asked about serving ghosts and spirits. The Master said, “You are not yet able to serve people -- how could you be able to serve ghosts and spirits?”
[tr. Slingerland (2003)]

Jilu asked how one should serve the gods and spirits. The Master said, "When you don't yet know how to serve human beings, how can you serve the spirits?"
[tr. Watson (2007)]

Jilu [Zilu] asked about how to serve the spirits of the dead and the gods. The Master said, "You can't even serve men properly, how can you serve the spirits?"
[tr. Annping Chin (2014)]

Ji Lu asked about how to serve and worship gods and spirits. Confucius said, "You still have not served men well. Why do you bother serving gods and spirits?"
[tr. Li (2020)]

If you don't know how to serve men, why worry about serving the gods?
[Common translation]

 
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Do you covet honor? You will never get it by serving yourself. Do you covet distinction? You will get it only as you serve mankind. Do not forget, then, as you walk these classic places, why you are here. You are not here merely to prepare to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) US President (1913-20), educator, political scientist
Speech, Swarthmore College (25 Oct 1913)
    (Source)
 
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There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

The Bible (The New Testament) (AD 1st - 2nd C) Christian sacred scripture
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 [NIV (2011 ed.)]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
[KJV (1611)]

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them.
[Jerusalem (1966)]

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service.
[GNT (1976)]

Now there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of services but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.
[NRSV (1989)]

 
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What I call a great minister is one who employs the Way in serving his sovereign. If he cannot do that, he resigns.

[所謂大臣者、以道事君、不可則止。]

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 11, verse 24, sec. 3 (11.24.3) (6th C. BC – AD 3rd C.) [tr. Hinton (1998)]
    (Source)

Numbered 11.23 by Legge and other early translators, as noted. More recent translators use 11.24, though some use 11.22. All are noted below.

(Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations:

What is called a great minister is one who serves his prince according to what is right; and when he finds he cannot do so, retires.
[tr. Legge (1861), 11.23]

Those whom we call 'great ministers' are such as serve their prince conscientiously, and who, when they cannot do so, retire.
[tr. Jennings (1895), 11.23]

Men I call statesmen are those who will serve their master according to their sense of duty; who, however, when they find they cannot do that, consistently, with their sense of duty, will resign.
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898)]

He who may be called a great minister is one who serves his Prince according to the right, and when that cannot be, resigns.
[tr. Soothill (1910) 11.23]

You call a man a great minister when be serves his prince honestly. and retires when he cannot.
[tr. Pound (1933), 11.23]

What I call a great minister is one who will only serve is prince while he can do so without infringement of the Way, and as soon as this is impossible, resigns.
[tr. Waley (1938), 11.23]

The so-called great minister serves his prince in keeping with The Right Way, and if that is impossible, he quits his post.
[tr. Ware (1950), 11.22]

The term "great minister" refers to those who serve their lord according to the Way and who, when this is no longer possible, relinquish office.
[tr. Lau (1979), 11.24]

What I call a great minister serves his ruler in accordance with the Way, and when it is impossible to do so he resigns.
[tr. Dawson (1993), 11.22]

A great minister is a minister who serves his lord by following the Way, and who resigns as soon as the two are no longer reconcilable.
[tr. Leys (1997), 11.24]

Those who are called great ministers use the Way to serve the sovereign. If thye cannot, they should then stop.
[tr. Huang (1997), 11.22]

The persons named as the Great Officials, should service the Lords with the benevolent way, and stop if the way does not work.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), #284, 11.24]

What are called great ministers are those who serve their lord with the way [dao], and when they cannot, resign.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998), 11.24]

Those whom one calls great ministers serve their ruler according to the Way, and when they can no longer, they stop.
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998), 11:22]

What we call "great ministers" are those who seek to serve their lord by means of the Way, and who resign if unable to do so.
[tr. Slingerland (2003), 11.24]

The term “great minister” applies to someone who serves the ruler according to the Way. If he cannot do that, he retires.
[tr. Watson (2007), 11.24]

The term "great ministers" applies to those who serve their lord in a moral way. If they simply cannot, then they stop.
[tr. Chin (2014), 11.24]

 
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When Tzŭ Kung asked about the practice of virtue the Master replied: “A workman who wants to do his work well must first sharpen his tools. In whatever State you dwell, take service with the worthiest of its ministers, and make friends of the most Virtuous of its scholars.”

[子貢問爲仁。子曰、工欲善其事、必先利其器、居是邦也、事其大夫之賢者、友其士之仁者。]

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 15, verse 10 (15.10) (6th C. BC – AD 3rd C.) [tr. Soothill (1910), 15.9]
    (Source)

Originally numbered 15.9 by Legge, current translations identify it as 15.10. (Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations:

Tsze-kung asked about the practice of virtue. The Master said, "The mechanic, who wishes to do his work well, must first sharpen his tools. When you are living in any state, take service with the most worthy among its great officers, and make friends of the most virtuous among its scholars."
[tr. Legge (1861), 15.9]

T'sz-kung asked how to become philanthropic. The Master answered him thus: "A workman who wants to do his work well must first sharpen his tools. In whatever land you live, serve under some wise and good man among those in high office, and make friends with the more humane of its men of education."
[tr. Jennings (1895), 15.9]

A disciple of Confucius enquired how to live a moral life. Confucius answered, "A workman who wants to perfect his work first sharpens his tools. When you are living in a country, you should serve those nobles and ministers in that country who are men of moral worth, and you should cultivate the friendship of the gentlemen of that country who are men of moral worth."
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898), 15.9]

Tze-kung asked about this business of manhood. He said: The craftsman wanting to perfect his craft must first put an edge on his tools (take advantage of implements already there, the containers). Living in a country, take service with the big men who have solid merit, make friends with the humane scholar-officers.
[tr. Pound (1933), 15.9]

Tzu-kung asked how to become Good. The Master said, A craftsman, if he means to do good work, must first sharpen his tools. In whatever state you dwell:
Take service with such of its officers as are worthy,
Make friends with such of its knights as are Good.
[tr. Waley (1938), 15.9]

When the workman wishes to do a better job, he must first sharpen his tools. So, in your case, no matter what state you inhabit, serve only the grand gentlemen of highest caliber, make friends only with those gentlemen who are manhood at its best.
[tr. Ware (1950)]

Tzu-kung asked about the practice of benevolence. The Master said, "A craftsman who wishes to practice his craft well must first sharpen his tools. You should, therefore, seek the patronage of the most distinguished Counsellors and make friend with the most benevolent Gentlemen in the state where you happen to be staying."
[tr. Lau (1979)]

Zigong asked about practising humaneness. The Master said: "If he wishes to make his work good, the craftsman must first sharpen his tools. If one is staying in a particular state, one serves the people of highest quality among its grandees and makes friends with the most humane among its public servants."
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

Zigong asked how to practice humanity. The Master said: "A craftsman who wishes to do good work must first sharpen his tools. In whatever country you settle, offer your services to the most virtuous ministers, and befriend those gentlemen who cultivate humanity."
[tr. Leys (1997)]

When Zi-gong asked how to cultivate humanity, the Master said: "If an artisan wishes to perfect his craft, he must first sharpen his tools. Living in this state, serve the worthy of its ministers and befriend the humane of its shi."
[tr. Huang (1997)]

Zigong asked how to practice the benevolence, Confucius said: "A worker wants to finish his job perfectly, must sharpen his tool first. One lives in this state, should service the sagacious persons in the senior officials, should make friends with the benevolent persons in the intellectuals.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998)]

Zigong inquired about authoritative conduct (ren). The Master replied, "Tradesmen wanting to be good at (shan) their trade must first sharpen their tools. While dwelling in this state, then, we should serve those ministers who are of the highest character (xian), and befriend those scholar-apprentices (shi) who are most authoritative in their conduct.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]

Dž-gùng asked about being ren. The Master said, If an artisan wants to do his job well, he must first sharpen his tools. When dwelling in some country, serve the worthy among its dignitaries; befriend the ren among its officers.
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998)]

Adept Kung asked about the practice of Humanity, and the Master said: “If a craftsman wants to do good work, he must first sharpen his tools. If you want to settle in a country, you must cultivate its wise ministers and befriend its Humane officials.”
[tr. Hinton (1998)]

Zigong asked about becoming Good. The Master said, “Any craftsman who wishes to do his job well must first sharpen his tools. In the same way, when living in a given state, one must serve those ministers who are worthy and befriend those scholar-officials who are Good.”
[tr. Slingerland (2003)]

Zigong asked how to practice humaneness. The Master said, A craftsman who wants to do his job well must first sharpen his tools. Whatever country you are in, be of service to the high officials who are worthy and become friends with the men of station who are humane.
[tr. Watson (2007)]

Zigong asked about the practice of humaneness. The Master said, "Artisans who wish to excel at their craft must sharpen their tools. When you live in any given state, you should serve the worthiest among the counselors and befriend the most human among the educated professionals."
[tr. Chin (2014)]

Zi Gong asked about Ren virtue. Confucius said, "When a craftsman [technician] wants to do a good job, he must sharpen his tools beforehand. After you have arrived in that country, serve and align yourself with competent and virtuous officials working for the prime minister and befriend colleagues hwo have the Ren virtue.
[tr. Li (2020)]

A frequent English paraphrase, attributed to Confucius but without citation to a particular analect, can be found as early as 1831:

The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.

 
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A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

Dave Barry (b. 1947) American humorist
“25 Things I Have Learned In 50 Years,” #21 (1997)
 
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It’s hard to play catch-up ball.

David H. Maister (b. 1947) American academic, writer, management consultant
“The Psychology of Waiting Lines,” Maister’s Second Law of Service (1985)

in Czepiel, et al., The Service Encounter
 
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True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.

Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) American athlete
(Attributed)

Quoted in Readers Digest, "Points to Ponder" (Sep 1994)
 
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