The search for God, and service in the spiritual brotherhood of man are concepts which go together. In fact, service results from the relationship of God and His children. The love received from our celestial father sooner or later leads us into service towards our brothers and sisters. This aspect of the fifth revelation is so important that it merits pondering on its nature and function in the universe. First, we will examine the definition and the function of service. Then, we will see that service is, above all, a matter of attitude. In a third step, I will speak to you about our loveliest model, our greatest inspiration to serve and, fourth, we will ponder on the vision our modern society has in regard to service.
The nature of service
How do we express the love we feel for someone? The simple fact of saying “I love you” does not suffice. Love is predisposed kindness in regard to our brothers and sisters and is expressed in every day gestures and actions. Being sensitive to the physical and spiritual needs in our entourage, sharing our inner life with our spiritual siblings and supporting them in the resolution of their daily tasks and multiple duties are different ways of serving and incarnating the love we have for our fellow man. And it is the same with God; if we truly love our Creator and Father, we will submit ourselves to the service of His spiritual kingdom and necessarily wish to participate in His divine plan which consists of growth and expression of divine values in our lives. Thus, service is the love expression we have for God as well as the spiritual brotherhood of man. In one of his speeches, Jesus emphasized on five characteristics of the kingdom of heaven; one of them was in regard to service:
… The supreme satisfactions of the loving service of man. [Paper 170:4.4, page 1863:10]
In his discourse on the earthly family, Jesus explained to his apostles that the second commandment of mutual love among children — to love your brother as yourself — is invariably manifested through loving social service …the second commandment of mutual love among the children, to love your brother as yourself. And then he explained that such a quality of brotherly affection would invariably manifest itself in unselfish and loving social service.
… the second commandment of mutual love among the children, to love your brother as yourself. And then he explained that such a quality of brotherly affection would invariably manifest itself in unselfish and loving social service. [Paper 142:7.4, page 1603:5]
The function of service
What is the function of service in the universal educational plan? While being the love expression we have toward God and men, it offers us a playground on which we can gain experience and growth. It will play this role for the duration of our ascent and even in paradise:
Study and instruction are not the exclusive occupations of Paradise arrivals; service also plays its essential part in the prefinaliter educational experiences of Paradise. [Paper 27:2.2, page 300:2]
But how does service favor our growth? It allows us to grow through the resolution of the challenges it engenders. By submitting ourselves to the service of God and the human fellowship, we can be sure to meet multiple problems to solve. These offer us the necessary opportunities to:
– develop the control of our emotions: for example, the need to adapt to competing ideas sometimes causes a healthy challenge, but it can also generate a certain stress that we must learn to control. Contact with people who think and act differently requires some adaptation. This can create emotional tensions that we must learn to resolve.
– expand our mind: In the service projects we choose, we must sometimes acquire new knowledge and this will broaden our skills and abilities. We must also organize and structure our service to make it effective. It could be through the analysis of the skills we already have and wish to assist others with, or those we desire to gain so as to better serve. It can also be in the manner we manage our time. For example, how many hours can I dedicate to the service of fifth revelation? How will I reconcile the necessities of everyday life and the required needs for the service in which I am committed?
– develop our soul: This part of us seeks improvement and expansion; the impulse to do better, searching closeness to God by tempting to resemble Him. Service, through the experience gained from it, evolves our soul; it is the required exercise for its growth.
– increase our collaboration with the spirit: Inasmuch as we submit ourselves to the service of the spiritual fellowship, we accomplish the will of the heavenly father; service effectively allows us to resemble Him more, because it is the generous gift of ourselves to others. Doesn’t the Father freely give himself to all His creation?
Thus, service implies every dimension of our being: mental health, mind and soul: And what of our body? Without it, it would be quite difficult to accomplish any of this here under. Service is the expression of love, because it allows us to give ourselves, in body and soul. Love, true love is the total gift of self to God and others.
Service in daily life
How do celestial beings who inhabit the universe occupy their time? I would say that their main activity is focused on service, the equivalent of our daily work on Urantia. We have seen above that the paradise educational scheme incorporates service as part of our apprenticeship. We can also read about life on the spheres of Jerusem, seat of our local system:
The activities of such a world are of three distinct varieties: work, progress and play. Stated otherwise, they are: service, study and relaxation. [Paper 46:5.29, page 526:4]
Although we speak here of paradise and Jerusem activities, it is plausible to think that the rest of our eternity will be occupied, among other things, with these three types of activities. Service is an essential part of universal management. But why talk about service instead of work. Work as seen by our modern society is at first hand a means to ensure our physical survival. As for service, it could be defined as a lifestyle, a fashion in which we accomplish our daily chores. It demonstrates concern for the people about us and for the environments in which we work. Service requires of us to perform the tasks we are assigned for the benefit of the community. When we labor for the sole purpose of obtaining a wage or a promotion, our motives are exclusively oriented on personal gratification; contemplating ourselves prevents us from understanding the true needs of our entourage and give assistance. Working, with the main purpose of helping, becomes service since it is focused on supporting others. Hear me well, the matter isn’t about condemning those who follow a professional career; there are no contradictions tied with the pursuit of a career and doing service. It is more a matter of changing the incentives tied to the performance of our daily work by giving it an altruistic dimension. Jesus speaks of this daily service dimension when he addresses the owner of a Greek Inn establishment, in which he stopped on his return to Rome with his two Indian friends:
… Minister your hospitality as one who entertains the children of the Most High. Elevate the drudgery of your daily toil to the high levels of a fine art through the increasing realization that you minister to God in the persons whom he indwells by his spirit which has descended to live within the hearts of men, thereby seeking to transform their minds and lead their souls to the knowledge of the Paradise Father of all these bestowed gifts of the divine spirit. [Paper 133:4.8, page 1475:1]
The spirit of service, while ennobling our daily tasks, allows us to discover and understand the real needs people around us have as well as the organizations in which we are committed; it makes us more effective in carrying out our activities. Thus, the spirit of service, in contrast with the simple fulfillment of our individual needs, can become the source of our growth.
We find, in Jesus of Nazareth, a brilliant example of service. He evidenced an exemplary dedication when his earthly father was killed in an accident on one of the construction sites on which he worked. At age 15, the family management fell upon his shoulders. His dedication to his brothers and sisters was affecting; he was a brother and a true father for them. Let us also consider his relationship with Ganid, the young Indian he tutored. For 2 years, he patiently taught this boy in his hunger for truth. When this latter one fell seriously ill, during one of their many travels, Jesus took care of him with much wisdom and tenderness.
The spirit of service may apply to many other activities in our lives. It can be innovative through the creation or improvement of tools or techniques for the enhancement of our quality of life. For example, Jesus, through his knowledge of cabinetmaking, improved techniques for the construction of boats of his time making sail navigation more secure. After five years, the majority of Capernaum vessels were constructed according to this superior model.
… he created a new style of boat and established entirely new methods of boatmaking. By superior technique and greatly improved methods of steaming the boards, Jesus and Zebedee began to build boats of a very superior type, craft which were far more safe for sailing the lake than were the older types. [Paper 129:1.3, page 1419:6]
There are many examples of individuals who have placed their talents in the service of humanity. Think of those who invented the computer and who have facilitated the lives of a multitude.
Service can be of philanthropic nature – humanitarian assistance — as these volunteers who, by compassion, went off to rescue victims of the earthquake that occurred in Haiti in 2010. It could also be doing voluntary work in organizations that support social causes such as soup kitchens. Think also of Jesus who took time to help his compatriots as he went his way, just doing good as he went along. This type of service is done without remuneration, and this represents a further difficulty in its execution, a greater gift of self.
It can be assistance of the highest type, the expansion of the Kingdom of God on Urantia. This is by far the most important of all types of service. Getting involved in the divine plan consisting on making the heavenly father known to those who seek for him through the sharing of our points of view on spirituality, living an inspiring life and freely expressing our passion for God should be of first concern. This represents a real challenge in our prevailing materialistic society.
Service is not defined exclusively by selflessness. It is normal to receive salary for our daily work. Bills have to be paid for! Similarly, doing volunteer work does not systematically position us in the spirit of service. We can give time for the sole purpose of meeting people and avoid boredom; we can do volunteering to enhance our curriculum vitae. In these two latter cases, our primary motivation is self-centered.
Whether that service is expressed through our daily work, in the creation of innovations, in volunteer work or at the expansion of the Kingdom of God, it is always and above all a matter of attitude, a way of life, a high level of performing our tasks for the good of our community, our world, our universe. What would happen in society if the spirit of service were to contaminate the souls of believers, if this spirit permeated all of our daily activities? Our world greatly needs to be inspired by those who will dare serve their kin as our master Michael has so well demonstrated through his disinterested service to mankind.
… he who would be great in my father’s kingdom must first become server of all. [Paper 137:8.11, page 1536:8]
God in service of his creation
We’ve just seen how service is integrated in our daily lives. Let us now gaze at the loveliest model in existence, one which should comprise our first inspiration. Although this idea may seem strange to some, I say that God the Father is at the service of His creation. The Urantia Book mentions this idea several times and in different ways:
Has the triumphant Adjuster won personality by the magnificent service to humanity, or has the valiant human acquired immortality through sincere efforts to achieve Adjusterlikeness? [Paper 112:7.9, page 1238:4]
God is love, the Son is mercy, the Spirit is ministry — the ministry of divine love and endless mercy to all intelligent creation. The Spirit is the personification of the Father’s love and the Son’s mercy; in him are they eternally united for universal service. [Paper 8:4.2, page 94:4]
The true parent is engaged in a continuous service ministry which the wise child comes to recognize and appreciate. [Paper 84:7.26, page 941:7]
The thought Adjuster is entirely subject to our free will in regard to our individual lives. He respects our pace and has no form of coercion. When we refuse to cooperate, he patiently waits for the circumstances of life and the consequences of our decisions that will oblige us to think, make decisions and act. He is always present when we choose to look upon him, always ready to work with us when we make the necessary efforts to move forward. He is always there, at the touch of our soul, when we need him. He is of unlimited love and with foolproof patience. His availability makes me believe that our heavenly father works in service for each of us.
Another example is given to us by Michael of Nebadon in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, when at the last supper, he knelt down to wash the feet of his disciples before going to table. On this occasion, he gave us this striking image of the God of our universe crouching as a servant. There are no wiser or more daring lessons on humility and attitude for us to have among each other. Through this gesture, Jesus discards any doubts we could have on the importance and the need for service in our ascent toward our heavenly father. It is not a matter of being slaver bound by our entourage or then again to be exploited by dishonest people, but rather one about choosing to support those who need our help. Let us remember once again, this sentence extracted from the sermon of Jesus on the Kingdom to the synagogue of Capernaum at the beginning of his public career:
… he who would be great in my Father’s kingdom must first become server of all. [Paper 137:8.11, page 1536:8]
God the father is great, because He is at the service of His creation. Of course, the aid He administers to his creatures is consistent with his nature. He is the creator and supporter of the universes. He will therefore serve in these capacities. And as such will the Eternal Son and the Infinite Spirit act:
In the administration of universes the Father, Son, and Spirit are perfectly and eternally interassociated. Though each is engaged in a personal ministry to all creation, all three are divinely and absolutely interlocked in a service of creation and control which forever makes them one. [Paper 8:6.6, page 96:8]
The work performed by heavenly personalities is inherent to the service of the grand family of God. In the Kingdom of heaven, there is no room for idleness. God himself is a tireless worker. Over control and sustenance of this vast universe, with its myriad of creatures, is undeniable proof of it. The heavenly father is at the service of His creation and if we wish to be like him, we also should make ourselves available to support our fellowship and thus respond to His command: “be you perfect as I am perfect”.
Modern society and its distorted view on service
We have put forward the idea that our Heavenly Father is in service to the human soul through the presence of the thought Adjusters. This idea could be difficult to accept for some. Current ideologies in society partly explain these difficulties.
I believe that our view on service is affected by the concepts of modern religions and by the frankly materialistic behavior of society. In our analysis, we must consider the Judeo-Christian vision that the institutionalized Church has bequeathed to us. We have been educated with the idea that the heavenly father is a king on a throne, giving out his orders through the universe to myriads of bowing celestial creatures. The Father actually is the leader of the great universe, but in making such a comparison, some commit the error of associating his behavior to that of succeeding human kings on Urantia. However, these ones do not demean themselves in service to others; instead, they have an army of people at their service. Jesus presented his Father using the image of a ruling king in a spiritual kingdom because the Jewish religion of that time fervently wished that a God would sit on the throne of David. Although he tried to avoid any association with the concept of kingship, it was too difficult for the people of his time to rid themselves of these ideas; always must revelation espouse the needs and necessities of the era it seeks to enlighten.
The great effort embodied in this sermon was the attempt to translate the concept of the kingdom of heaven into the ideal of the idea of doing the will of God. Long had the Master taught his followers to pray: “Your kingdom come; your will be done”; and at this time he earnestly sought to induce them to abandon the use of the term kingdom of God in favor of the more practical equivalent, the will of God. But he did not succeed. Jesus desired to substitute for the idea of the kingdom, king, and subjects, the concept of the heavenly family, the heavenly Father, and the liberated sons of God engaged in joyful and voluntary service for their fellow men and in the sublime and intelligent worship of God the Father. [Paper 170:2.12, page 1860:7]
Today, we are the heirs of these concepts and as a result, it may be difficult to accept the idea that the heavenly father may serve His creation. But let’s ask ourselves this question: what is so humiliating about service to think that God cannot indulge in it? There is absolutely nothing
humiliating about serving! Only the distorted vision our modern society has can make us believe so. Effectively, many people, nowadays, seem to consider service as being some form of humiliation. The vision our society has is diametrically opposed to that of the master who devoted his entire life to the service of humanity. In his speech on the Kingdom of heaven, Jesus says that to be great in the Kingdom of his father, we must become the server of all.
… for I declare that he who would be great in my Father’s kingdom must first become server of all. [Paper 137:8.11, page 1536:8]
Service allows us to be great. It is therefore up to us to change our point of view by reassessing the value of service in the light of the 5th revelation.
In the spiritual world there is no such thing as menial work; all service is sacred and exhilarating; neither do the higher orders of beings look down upon the lower orders of existence. [Paper 25:1.1, page 273:10]
Our epoch is characterized by material enrichment in profit over spiritual gains. In a society where one must constantly work to over-consume, less time is devoted to the service of the divine family. Understand me well; I have nothing against wealth, provided that it does not supplant the search for God and service in the spiritual fellowship. In some people, the passion of service is completely non-existent and the goals have become purely mercantile. They work harder to get rich than they do to improve things. Well, I think that service… is the opposite! First, we should work to improve things and then to suffice our needs. In fact, service is a state of mind in which we do things to improve our life conditions and perfect ourselves. For people vested with the spirit of service, money comes in second rank.
We have just explored certain aspects of service. We have seen that it is the expression of the love we have for God and our peers. It is loving kindness within the scope of the tangible gestures of daily life. Above all, it is our attitude in regard to availability and openness to others that determines whether or not we are at the service of our siblings. Subsequently, we discussed on the idea that the heavenly father is at the service of His creation. If we wish to be like him, as he has requested, we need to be at each other’s service. We have also pondered on the concept of service in our modern society. It is in obvious contradiction with the spirit of service such as Jesus lived and taught it while incarnated on our world. We must be aware of the importance of service in our ascent and recognize its value. Service at first hand is the expression of love, a love so great that one would give his life for his friends. Jesus even gave his to his enemies. The supreme service, as he lived it, is the total gift of self to something greater than self.
On millions of inhabited worlds, tens of trillions of evolving creatures who may have been tempted to give up the moral struggle and abandon the good fight of faith, have taken one more look at Jesus on the cross and then have forged on ahead, inspired by the sight of God’s laying down his incarnate life in devotion to the unselfish service of man. [Paper 188:5.5, page 2018:4]
Finally, I would like to share with you a text used for a worship activity, created on behalf of a group of readers of The Urantia Book in Quebec. It focuses on the beauty of service.
The beauty of service
I want to thank you, heavenly father, for this inaugural speech on the Kingdom that Jesus has bequeathed us, two thousand years ago. Of this speech, I remember a particular phrase.
In my Father’s kingdom there shall be neither Jew nor gentile, only those who seek perfection through service, for I declare that he who would be great in my Father’s kingdom must first become server of all. [Paper 137:8.11, page 1536:8]
You are great, father, because you are at the service of your creation. The Thought Adjusters are an example of this service, as they work to create our soul survival in collaboration with our human mind, as they lead our terrestrial path on the road to eternity, respecting our will as we live in this incarnated life. These majestic beings descend from your divine abode to inhabit the minds of material and imperfect creatures. In the case of Urantia, our planet, unfortunate sphere broken by rebellion, this service takes a dimension even more touching and remarkable.
You offer us an incredible number of personalities to help us on the way to your attainment or to rescue us in times of great distress. I think about the Melchizedeks and many other spiritual figures that were sent in this part of the universe to redress the perilous situation of our planet during rebellion. But to me, the most beautiful and striking image is your son incarnated in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, at the last supper, when crouching to wash the feet of his disciples, he gave us this beautiful and stunning lesson on the necessity and beauty of service. It was not only Jesus of Nazareth or Michael of Nebadon teaching us this lesson; it was you, also, our heavenly father. Isn’t the son the expression of the father? Watching you act, I can no longer ignore the importance of service toward my incarnated siblings. It is also through service that we become perfect as you are. It is true that when we perform the high service of the Kingdom of heaven, we truly begin to resemble you. Yes, you are at the service of your creation; a striking example is the work of the Thought Adjusters with the human soul.
I am fascinated by the respect these entities bear in regard to our free will, despite the misuse we can do of them. You are bold; you are a God who loves challenges, because you chose to pilot us through the maze of our material life, limiting your action by the very fact of giving us the choice to reject you. Despite our stubbornness and aberrations, you are always a loving presence for us. What humility it is for such a mighty God to submit his sovereign will to the human personality.
How majestic your plan is, Father. What intelligence involved in your way of transforming the errors and mistakes of your creatures into opportunities. I think about the Agondonters, these beings that have remained faithful and loyal to you in the presence of rebellion which may occasionally occur in your universe. They can believe without seeing, persevere in isolation and overcome insurmountable difficulties, even when alone. Thus, from apparent disasters, you transform ugliness into beauty, and from our errors, you pour out truth.
I am inspired by the patience which is evidenced in the evolutionary process of creatures. I am convinced and happy at the thought that this patience, this love, these efforts, this service will bear its fruit and will be crowned by an eternal relationship between you and each of us, a relationship with unchanging and indestructible links, a complete fusion of our natures, so perfect that neither human nor the Adjuster will ever be discerned from one another. Like you, my heavenly father, I await this day with growing expectation.