To serve or to help?

I have been reflecting recently on the difference between serve and help.

I am reminded that the best way to support someone elderly or unsteady on their feet, is to offer your arm and allow them to determine how they hold you, as opposed to you holding them. To be there in support, not carrying them or taking their power away.


HELP: Aid; assist (from the Pocket Oxford Dictionary)

Sometimes offers of help are unconditional and other times they are conditional. They can also be rhetorical – an offer to which it is hoped the answer will be no.

When we offer to help someone, this can come from a place of compassion and desire to support but may also come from a need to be needed, a need to be validated, be seen helping, or to fix and cure the situation.
And sometimes the person may not want help. I remember seeing a cartoon or skit where an elderly woman is escorted across a busy road by a good ‘samaritan’ without her consent only to then be where she had no desire to be!


SERVE: Be useful; meet needs; be suitable; do what is required (Pocket Oxford Dictionary)

On the other hand, the desire to serve has a different starting point. This has an essence of doing what needs to be done for the good of all concerned and from a place of neutrality. It is not about fixing. Sometimes this might be doing nothing, speaking those words which need to be said, taking charge or keeping your opinion to yourself. The answer is best found by asking “How can I best serve?”

Enjoy this inspiring video that I believe encapsulates the power of the question “How can I best serve?”

Our path may not be to serve in as great a capacity, but serving our family or community from a place of neutral compassion and having awareness of the full picture will show us the way.

Many blessings as we serve those and the world around us.


I’d love to hear below how this has this helped you consider the power of serving. 
Know someone else who might also enjoy this? Please share!