Apologies in advance to a great many mothers.
Ethics for Young Girls
Young Woman’s Journal, 1900-1901
Lesson 12: Loving and Serving
In our preceding lessons we have studied a few ethical principles. In this lesson we shall study the principle or law which is the foundation of happiness. This principle is that of loving and serving. There can be no true love without the desire to serve.
The basis of loving service is found in the mother, who attends to all the needs of her little one. Many of these duties would be disagreeable to her if she had to perform them for a stranger, but all the unpleasantness is lost in the mother love. She loves her child all the better because of its dependence upon her. It is a known fact that mothers who shirk the responsibility of nursing their babies never feel the depth of true mother love.
The mother’s loving service follows the child to manhood and he is never too old to need her tender care.
There is one danger in her service. She is apt to wait on her child to such an extent that he thinks mother’s duty is to serve him. We have all seen many incidents of children being harsh and cruel to the most loving of mothers.
It is a strange fact that loving service does not always call for respect and love in return. In order to love we must serve as well as be served. We can raise a crop of love for any one if we will do kindly acts for that person, but in order for that one to love us he must return the loving service.
Why is it that we often see a husband and wife unhappy together? One great reason is that only one of the two serves and the other one receives. The one that serves loves, but the one that receives takes as a matter of course the other’s service.
In order that both husband and wife love, there must be mutual service.
In order that the child love his mother, he must be taught to serve her.
In order that friends love each other, each must perform loving acts for the other.
True happiness does not come from being loved, it comes from loving, and we can love only by serving. There is nothing more beautiful to contemplate than a heart filled with love, – love for father, mother, brother, sister, friend, humanity. How happy and how full is such a life!
Christ’s life is such an example. He loved the animals because he was kind to them. he loved His friends because He desired to help them. He loved His enemies because he sorrowed for them and tried to help them to understand God’s laws. he loved humanity, with the greatest love ever known. he gave up His life for the service of mankind, that they might be saved. Would any of us serve mankind as He did?
The love we have for God is based upon the same principle that our earthly love is. We first love Him because he loves us. Love begets love. The only way we can show our love for Him, nay, the only way we can truly love Him, is to serve Him by keeping His laws. Keep every one of God’s laws for a time and see how your love for Him will increase. We have to serve Him continually in order to keep the love for Him warm in our hearts.
Let us see if we can find the true relation between loving and serving.
In the first place love begets love. If we love people and show this love by our service, the love is apt to be returned. It is the hardest thing in the world to love those who are unkind to us.
Love may be awakened in our hearts, but unless it is constantly fed with loving service, it dies. If we serve people and they do not love us in return, our love for them eventually dies. We may continue to serve, but it is the serving of a slave for his master.
Loving leads to the desire to serve. If there be mutual love it may be kept burning ever more brightly by mutual service.
Serving without love may in time lead to love. In fact it is very apt to do so. if there is a person we dislike, and we do him many kindly services, we are likely to love him, if these acts are received in a kindly manner.
The condition of true happiness then is loving and serving.
1. Relate incidents of loving service from the life of Christ.
2. How do officers in our Church show their love in service?
3. Do the officers in the Young ladies’ Association love and serve? Whom?
4. Write an essay on each of the following topics: How can I love and serve my parents? How can I love and serve my brothers and sisters? How can I serve the Lord? The one who serves is happier than the one who is served.