The author Charles Dickens said, "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another" and the American leader Abraham Lincoln said, "To ease another's heartache is to forget one's own." The first quotation focuses on the way that providing service gives a person a sense of purpose and belonging, while the second implies that serving others helps people to forget their own problems and find happiness.
Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian leader and pacifist, encouraged community service when he said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This commonly quoted statement shows that people who engage in community service can feel that it gives their life purpose and meaning. It also implies that finding meaning in life through selfish or pleasurable pursuits rarely provides the kind of satisfaction gained by serving others.
The Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” The dream in this quotation represents hopes for the future; every person hopes that his future will be filled with joy. The waking represents the reality that life is difficult and that there is a lot of hard work to be done. The final statement reminds the listener that even in difficult circumstances, hard work done for the benefit of others will bring the joy that was hoped for. This quotation is often used to remind people that their service will benefit both themselves and others.