bahai definition of service ?

Jul 2009
5
USA
Hello :) Just wanted to say thx for the answers I've received so far on the forum. Another question on my part :

I have run into a reasonable number of Bahais to whom service means teaching the faith through ruhi classes, childrens classes, devotionals, etc. It seems like these activities, and others like a 'year of service' or 'pioneering' activities were prioritized. I also got the impression that other forms of service like helping the homeless, etc while noble didn't serve the 'Cause', and were less preferred as it seemed like helping individuals with material comforts etc wasn’t of much spiritual benefit to them.

1. Could someone help clarify ? Are there particular acts that are more highly valued as acts of service within the Bahai faith ?
2. Could you give me examples of what service means to you, and how you have served Humanity in your lifetime ?
3. Is a Bahai free to choose how they wish to serve humanity, or are there guidelines to be followed?

When I read this quote below from Abdul Baha, it seems to me that service of all kinds are indeed valued in the Bahai faith – but somehow, I didn’t get this from the individuals I had spoken to...

Bah' Reference Library - Paris Talks, Pages 72-74

"Oh, friends of God! If ye will trust in the Word of God and be strong; if ye will follow the precepts of Bahá’u’lláh to tend the sick, raise the fallen, care for the poor and needy, give shelter to the destitute, protect the oppressed, comfort the sorrowful and love the world of humanity with all your hearts, then I say unto you that ere long this meeting-place will see a wonderful harvest. Day by day each member will advance and become more and more spiritual."

thx and God Bless!
 
Jun 2006
4,321
California
Baha'is and service to others:

gte wrote:

Another question on my part:

I have run into a reasonable number of Bahais to whom service means teaching the faith through ruhi classes, childrens classes, devotionals, etc. It seems like these activities, and others like a 'year of service' or 'pioneering' activities were prioritized. I also got the impression that other forms of service like helping the homeless, etc while noble didn't serve the 'Cause', and were less preferred as it seemed like helping individuals with material comforts etc wasn’t of much spiritual benefit to them.

My reply:

Service to others is always encouraged in the Faith.. In some communities where there are a significant number of Baha'is there is what is called Social Developement Projects and these are adapted to the communities they service by the local Baha'is.

In small communities where I live we helped a family that was homeless from a large fire in 2004 .. Many of us worked to upgrade their home so they could occupy it. I volunteered at the local hospital where I live and provided what they called "Pastoral Care" in cooperation with the Chaplain at the hospital. So there is no issue among us I think about providing services to people.

see the following:


Baha'is of Marin Article

and

http://info.bahai.org/article-1-8-0-1.html

gte wrote:


1. Could someone help clarify ? Are there particular acts that are more highly valued as acts of service within the Bahai faith ?

My reply:

Service can be variously interpreted as you may know.. Visiting a woman who is say housebound by a debilitating illness could be an act of service or serving on the local Human Relations Commission would also be a service.. but no body tells say like a clergy person what we should do.


2. Could you give me examples of what service means to you, and how you have served Humanity in your lifetime ?

My reply:

Being a career Social Worker and my wife a Teacher we have had quite a lot of services we've offered the community where we live..but each Baha'i also knows that work is worship and that service to others will vary depending.


3. Is a Bahai free to choose how they wish to serve humanity, or are there guidelines to be followed?

My reply:

As above... no one tells us what to do or how to serve in an authoritarian way. Baha'is have also been in the forefront of movements for racial harmony as well as world peace so it depends on the capacity of the believer and what they are capable of in my view..

I did run across an interesting statement that may interest you from the US Baha'i community:


"For Baha’is, service to others gives life meaning and purpose. Any work or profession carried out in a spirit of service to humanity is considered the highest form of worship. Educating one's children and caring for one's family also are considered laudable forms of service and worship.

"In addition to these personal forms of service, the Baha'i community undertakes collective service projects in accordance with priorities and goals set by the Universal House of Justice. Such acts of service may include tutoring adult study circles, teaching children’s classes, mentoring youth groups and hosting devotional programs. Baha'is are also involved in a wide variety of social and economic development projects to uplift the material and spiritual well-being of humanity.

"Many Baha'i youth spend a year or two after high school or during their college years in service to the Baha'i Faith, although they are not required to do so. Baha'is may choose from many service opportunities in community development, education and other forms of social service in the United States and abroad. Before undertaking a service commitment, an individual is encouraged to pray about it and consult with one’s family and Local Spiritual Assembly."

Source:

Being Baha'i | Bahai Faith | Baha'i Faith