The Heart of Service

Genuine service comes from a caring heart.

When you receive a call from a customer, when you meet with a customer making an enquiry in your store, when you attend to an accident victim in the hospital, when a customer brings his faulty car to your workshop, your ability to care is crucial.

The secret to offering great service is to be more concerned about the person you are helping than yourself. This is why genuine service is so rare.


We have a distorted view of things. Each person seeks his own interest and does not care about others. This is the heart of Nigeria’s problem; corruption is a moral problem. And it has an old name – Selfishness. We create our universe without ourselves at the centre. ‘It’s all about me’ – that’s the universal anthem. And when we adopt this as our rule of life, genuine service becomes impossible.

In his delightful book Life@Work, John Maxwell lists what serving entails in our practical dealings with people. Among others, he includes:

    1. It means getting to know people as people, not just human work machines.
    2. It means learning their names, their spouses’ names, their parents’ names, and maybe even their kids’ages and birthdays.
    3. It means becoming a good listener, not just a good talker.
    4. It means getting involved with people, not always keeping a professional distance. (While I am often guilty, I have a brother who excels at this)
    5. It means remembering the conversation

Simply put, serving people means getting to deal with them, literally. It means getting to know them. And this has to be deliberate.

There is no hiding the fact that serving people can be messy. There are irritable people, insincere people, and callous people. Some will take you for granted. I have dealt with customers who lie just to have their way. And a number of us have worked with people who simply cannot be satisfied. They will literally drain you. But it’s the way to go, if we desire fulfillment in life. No wonder Jesus said, he who would keep his life will lose it. However, when we sow that life as a seed for the good of others, it yields an enormous harvest.


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