I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
~Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy
The purpose of life is not to be happy - but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.
Live simply that others might simply live.
~Elizabeth Ann Seton
We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
It seems to me that any full grown, mature adult would have a desire to be responsible, to help where he can in a world that needs so very much, that threatens us so very much.
Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful.
I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.
~Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojarhiu)
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
~Edward Everett Hale
The willingness to share does not make one charitable; it makes one free.
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can.
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.
Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him.
He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.
This is the true joy in life - being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
~George Bernard Shaw
Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.
The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
While earning your daily bread, be sure you share a slice with those less fortunate.
~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
The difference between a helping hand and an outstretched palm is a twist of the wrist.
~Laurence Leamer, King of the Night
No man stands so straight as when he stoops to help a boy.
~Knights of Pythagoras (Thanks, Jim)
Charity sees the need, not the cause.
In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, much later adapted to "So shines a good deed in a weary
world" by David Seltzer for the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
If we could all hear one another's prayers, God might be relieved of some of his burdens.
Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.
~Norman B. Rice
I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.
Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee, and do not try to make the universe a blind alley.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.
The Lord loveth a cheerful giver. He also accepteth from a grouch.
Our prayers for others flow more easily than those for ourselves. This shows we are made to live by charity.
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.
~Albert Pike (Thanks, Carl)
It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference.
God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.
Do not commit the error, common among the young, of assuming that if you cannot save the whole of mankind you have failed.
~Jan de Hartog, The Lamb's War
One must be poor to know the luxury of giving!
He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.
If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.
Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.
When you dig another out of their troubles, you find a place to bury your own.
The only gift is a portion of thyself.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Love the earth and sun and animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labor to others...
And your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
~John Wooden, They Call Me Coach
Trees outstrip most people in the extent and depth of their work for the public good.
~Sara Ebenreck, American Forests
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Things of the spirit differ from things material in that the more you give the more you have.
It's not that successful people are givers; it is that givers are successful people.
Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.
~Henry David Thoreau
True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity.
~Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1970
Past the seeker as he prayed came the crippled and the beggar and the beaten. And seeing them... he cried, "Great God, how is it that a loving creator can see such things and yet do nothing about them?" God said, "I did do something. I made you."
Find a need and fill it.
~Ruth Stafford Peale
In giving you are throwing a bridge across the chasm of your solitude.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Wisdom of the Sands, translated from French by Stuart Gilbert
Sometimes a man imagines that he will lose himself if he gives himself, and keep himself if he hides himself. But the contrary takes place with terrible exactitude.
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
Love never reasons but profusely gives; gives, like a thoughtless prodigal, its all, and trembles lest it has done too little.
If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.
Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.
A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.
If I thought I was going to die tomorrow, I should nevertheless plant a tree today.
I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.
The vicious count their years; virtuous, their acts.
Look around the habitable world: how few
Know their own good, or knowing it, pursue.
The deed is everything, the glory naught.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
The race advances only by the extra achievements of the individual. You are the individual.
Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.
If all human lives depended upon their usefulness - as might be judged by certain standards - there would be a sudden and terrific mortality in the world.
Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.
~Edwin Hubbel Chapin
The destroyer of weeds, thistles and thorns is a benefactor, whether he soweth grain or not.
~Robert Ingersoll, inscription to Volume I, Collected Works
There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.
The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
~Robert F. Kennedy
I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.
There are two ways of spreading light - to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
~Edith Wharton, Vesalius in Zante
A handful of pine-seed will cover mountains with the green majesty of a forest. I too will set my face to the wind and throw my handful of seed on high.
If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.
[U]sefulness is happiness, and... all other things are but incidental.
~Lydia Maria Child, The American Frugal Housewife, 1829
You may not have saved a lot of money in your life, but if you have saved a lot of heartaches for other folks, you are a pretty rich man.
What a person believes is not as important as how a person believes.
If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.
~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book
My life is my message.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Don't be afraid of outgiving God. It is impossible to do that.
~Charles R. Swindoll
Go the extra mile. It's never crowded.
Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his roots.
~Frank A. Clark
We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.
If you pursue good with labor, the labor passes away but the good remains; if you pursue evil with pleasure, the pleasure passes away and the evil remains.
To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.
Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.
You can't lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.
If everyone howled at every injustice, every act of barbarism, every act of unkindness, then we would be taking the first step towards a real humanity.
My piece of bread only belongs to me when I know that everyone else has a share, and that no one starves while I eat.
If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.
A large heart can be filled with very little.
~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
There is no use whatever trying to help people who do not help themselves. You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb himself.
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
A good example has twice the value of good advice.
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
~Thoreau, Walden, 1854
Improvement begins with I.
Everybody can be great. Because anybody 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 the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.
There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.
~Aldous Huxley, Time Must Have a Stop
Instead of counting your days, make your days count.
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.
Each of us can only do the best we can for as many as we can and that will never be good enough for those of us who care!