How May I Serve You?

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I was born with a servant gene as were my mother and father before me and my siblings beside me. We have met and married other genetic servants and produced children with the same gene.

What does it mean to have the servant gene?

It means that helping others is as instinctive and integral to our being as being right- or left-handed. It means always putting our hand up when volunteers are sought. It means always looking for ways to relieve another’s burden. It means always seeking ways to be of assistance to others whether near or far, loved ones or strangers.

Why do you do it?

Not for gain, that is certain. A quid pro quo or obligation to repay never enters a genetic servant’s head when offering a service. Indeed, the very act of serving, the satisfaction that brings, is our payment. Any offer of reward or payment for service is viewed with embarrassment.

Do you ever tire of it?

No. Never. We may feel tired, as we are often trying to meet many demands, unable to say no to any request, but we never tire of it. In fact, it is often the opposite. A request for help from a friend and the ability to then fulfil that request is likely to be the highlight of the day and leave us in a positive state of mind for the rest of the week.

What are the downsides?

It’s true that we can become over-stretched as we try to meet as many demands as possible. This does not lead to resentment at the imposition but only sadness that we are not fulfilling our full service by being an effective servant to all who need us. Some people do not understand the mindset of a person with the servant gene and will reject assistance or refuse to ask for help for fear of imposing. This also makes us sad because being of service is what fills our hearts and souls with happiness.

How do children exhibit the servant gene?

They are always the ones to attend events to support their school, club, a charity or friends. They take on the bulk of the grunt work in group projects. They make friends with the otherwise friendless kids and invite them to their birthday parties. They stay behind to help clean up. They always help when asked and offer help unprompted.

How do I know if I have the servant gene?

Are you always looking for ways to help, especially when attending events? Do you usually find yourself in the kitchen doing the dishes or staying behind to help clean up? Do you notice when your friends may need help and offer a practical way to be of assistance? Are you always on the lookout for ways to participate in events to raise money for charities or awareness of important social issues? Most of all, does doing these things bring you great joy and satisfaction?

I used to sometimes think that I was cursed with the servant gene but I have come to know that it is indeed a blessing and that we are an important part of any tribe.

Do you have the servant gene? Is it a blessing or a curse for you?

 

 

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41 thoughts on “How May I Serve You?

      • I never intended to hurt you anyway. You are a very respected blogger and I must have liked your blog posts a year ago to have subscribed it to my feed.

        I feel stupid enough to explain what I meant to write, but since hurting other people and dropping bombs and grenades at them have never been an agenda for me, here I explain the meaning to this apparent bomb.

        What I meant was I am unlucky to have surrounded myself with people who do not consider individuality as healthy and who take no stone unturned to hit them back for being different.
        I consider myself lucky to not have a servant gene, for it doesn’t come naturally to me and hence I won’t understand how people can act serve others. I always feel that there might be a hidden agenda to serving other people selflessly. I have seen people who pretend to be selfless yet at the right opportune show their true colors.

        Since I came here as an unknown face with a strange name with no backlinks to my blogs here is the link:

        Thepuppetofaloser.blogspot.com

        Liked by 3 people

        • Thank you, Pranju, for returning and providing context for your comment. It has made all the difference. In fact, on re-reading your comment, I can’t help thinking that the simple addition of three small words “in my life” after the “unlucky to have people..” might have made a difference. Then it would have provided some context that you have had unpleasant experiences of people lording it over you about being good servants rather than it reading like it was directed at me. Thank you also for the link to your blog. I would like to understand things.

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    • Pranju, I think she relates to the “servant gene” rather differently than you do. I don’t think she sees being a “servant” in terms of social class, servility, servitude, or power relations at all. I’m sorry if you do. Rather, I think the writer sees being a “servant” as an opportunity for altruism, for showing kindness and support.

      In fact I know that’s the case, as I’m honored to call the writer my friend, and I’ve frequently been the beneficiary of her kindnesses, and never have been made to feel in any way ‘inferior’. Whether it’s genetic or not, she undoubtedly hails from a proud tradition of service, although she herself is never proud or boastful.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Serving people around me who are in need has been part of my life since childhood. I don’t often extend this to organizations. I think introvert is a stronger force within me. I have been taken advantage of, but I still err a little on the “yeah, I’ll help you side” but not as much as you suggest. Thank you, on behalf of those you’ve helped.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes I think the reason I end up in the kitchen doing dishes or packing up the chairs when everyone is chatting at the end is because it’s easier as an introvert to go and find something to do than have to socialise. 😉 Sounds to me like you’re very much a positive benefit to your tribe/community so I thank you, too, for those you’ve helped.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am grateful for people like your clan who dig in and get the job done and who actively seek the opportunity to do so. I know of only a few people who make it their life’s work to be the heavy lifters.

    Now in retirement, I can step up and help to carry the load. But my nature demands that I limit my obligations. In the past I have over-committed by trying to juggle multiple balls at once. All that I managed to do was drop every last ball.

    One thing I’ve learned from these episodes is that good intentions are not all that is required. I’ve also learned that “the willing horse bears the load” and that the poor creature could end up much worse for wear.

    As always, so lovely to hear from you here on the blogs. Do take care.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is always a hard one to balance how much you can help. When it’s instinctive to do so, it takes a strong commitment to say no. I have learned to do it when I need to but I’ll admit it never sits very comfortably. You are wise to know how much is reasonable and look after yourself.
      Thanks, Maggie. I have a lot of reading to catch up on but I’m always lurking around somewhere. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I am always trying to grow my servant gene. I do love being an active volunteer at church and elsewhere, but there are times when the rest of life gets in the way and I have to put it aside temporarily. I have always admired people that never hesitate or are quick to help in any situation, without putting thought to it. I aspire to be like that.

    Yes, I’ve worn myself out by not saying “no.” That’s happened more often at work, being a servant as a public servant and that’s when I have to step back and let someone else do the work.

    Glad to see you back, H! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think when you’re part of a team, it’s harder to step back because you feel a responsibility to do your part (although I notice some people don’t seem to have that problem) so I can understand how you can find yourself doing too much in places like your work or your church. It’s good that you can recognise now when you need to step back, though.

      I’m almost a chronic helper. Even when I really want to say no, I usually can’t. And I’ve been known to lie when someone’s asked for help but wanted assurance that I wasn’t busy or didn’t have something else on. “No, no, it’s fine,” I’ll say while rearranging my life to fit it in. 😉 (Hm, probably shouldn’t admit that in public…. 😀 )

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      • You have a wonderful heart, H, and that makes you very special. Isn’t it one of our commandments to love others? I think that’s where serving comes in and you do what you feel is right in His eyes. Just take care of yourself. I wouldn’t want to see you get sick over it.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Funnily enough we had a conversation on this very thing today in PAG. All the ‘I felt I needed to step up’, ‘I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for’; I feel like I might let the team down’ etc. To want to contribute in society is not actually being a servant in the way some people say it. Where to draw the line in your own best interest is a conflict that has to be reasoned by seeing that caring for yourself allows you to serve others better. Roundabout but necessary for some of us. Blessings and apologies.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. No. I have a very deep sense that helping people is the right thing to do, but I have to make a very conscious effort to do it – it does not come natural. Naturally I want to go into the deep woods or a closet and disappear from humanity. I am an extreme introvert and very shy (that has slowly gone away as i age), and raising my hand to volunteer brings attention. So I do volunteer and help more than the average person and I enjoy doing it, but it is something I have to force myself to do.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It can be really hard when you want to help but other factors make it difficult. I completely understand. It seems to me you’re still doing what you can and more than many others who wouldn’t have your difficulties which is fantastic. Sometimes people forget that even a little bit helps in some way and if we all put in a little, it creates a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I believe I have the gene but at one point in my life became so stretched that I needed to make some changes to not let the gene bully all else in my world. I chuckled at some of the diagnostic tests. Yes that would be me in the kitchen doing dishes. 🙂

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    • I think as long as the gene is allowing you to do the sort of things you love to do, including helping people, then it’s all good but once it, as you say, starts bullying the other aspect of you, it’s time to set some boundaries. You are wise to make those changes and not run yourself into the ground.
      I’m happy you had a chuckle. 🙂 I’m always in the kitchen….

      Liked by 2 people

  6. My life is all about looking after and supporting other people: my boys, friends, blog family, mainly on a one on one basis. Likewise I’d be in the kitchen, but mostly mine, looking after people from my ‘office’, I’m not a volunteerer or a get involved publicly kind of person – less introvert, more hermit as I get older!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can see your sense of service through your blog and also the pleasure cooking for others brings for you. We serve in the ways that suit us best. (I’m partial to things that bring babies and little people back into my life. On a temporary basis. 😜)

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I do. I do suffer. I used to suffer much more, but I have learned to say no. Saying no allows me to reserve my service for other services. There are services I loathe and services I enjoy, so I save it all for the latter 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • One of the hardest things for someone with a servant gene to learn is how to use that itty bitty two letter word. I’m getting better but what I’m not good at is the repeat no. So I’ll manage to say no but if they come back and ask again, especially with some sort of “what if we/you just” compromise, then I find it hard to say no.

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  9. This is really interesting Heather. It’s people like you (and my parents) who keep the world turning.

    I don’t think I have a servant gene as such. Like Trent, I know deep down that helping is the right thing to do (guess Mum and Dad passed that bit on), and I try to do that as much as I can. But it doesn’t come naturally to me. Partly it’s introversion but I suspect it’s more that I have a very particular version of the fairness gene (and perhaps the perfection gene) that kicks in when I feel that I am doing my best to help and others aren’t giving their best; that those around me expect that I’ll stack the chairs, wash the dishes, whatever and just leave me to it. It’s all mutated over time into the resentment gene I’m afraid. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Completely understand that mutation! I guess I’m still at the stage (and perhaps always will be) that I do it because I want to and it makes me happy to be helpful so I don’t really mind if it’s just me stacking the chairs every night. I don’t do it to be noticed either so I’m not sure if in those circumstances I’d notice who did or didn’t do whatever. Not all the time – I’ve certainly noticed the scenarios you suggest and like you, it doesn’t fit with my sense of fairness either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That describes my parents quite well. My mum at nearly 81 is still volunteering for various groups and still doing the dishes afterwards. Her view is like yours; it makes her happy. I love that.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I think it is excellent that there are some people who happily volunteer, raise their hands and get stuck in. I admire such people, but I am not one. I think the older I get the more of a recluse I am becoming. I have never been a ‘joiner’ or had a huge group of friends; possibly caused by moving around a lot in my life. And I am happy in my own company though I do wonder if I am very selfish in not volunteering now that I have the time.

    Liked by 1 person

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