"If any one's heart is full of love and his hand full of service he has no morbid 'prob lems,'" said Dr. Frank Crane. "He has solved the riddle of life."
With love in your heart, you have not only happiness, but a power of accomplishment which no amount of money can give. If the good done by love alone could be taken out of the world what would be left us! There is nothing great, enduring, worth while on which it is not built.
Some seventy or more years ago a poor young curate in Brittany had an idea that the poor should help the poor. His salary was only eighty dollars a year, his friends and parishioners were the poorest of the poor, and without money he proceeded to launch his idea. He got together some of his friends and outlined to them his plan for helping those who were poorer than themselves. As a result, in a poverty-stricken attic, in a poor street, with two old women as its first beneficiaries, the Order of the Little Sisters of the Poor was started. And from that humble beginning has grown that mighty organization which now covers two continents and gives food and shelter, encouragement and help to thousands and thousands of poor and aged people every day.
The first helpers of the young curate were seamstresses and servants, who agreed to pool with him their little earnings for the starting of the enterprise. This little band has grown to thousands of devoted women, with more than two hundred and fifty houses of shelter for the aged and poor in Europe alone. The Little Sisters with their baskets or their carts collecting for their "children," as they call the occupants of the homes, are a very familiar sight in the large cities of Europe, and also in America.
The name of the Abbé Le Pailleur, the poor curate who, with the munificent salary of eighty dollars a year, established this great and merciful organization, will live when mighty kings and emperors are forgotten.
So will that of George Müller, who, early in the nineteenth century, opened the famous Orphan House at Ashley Downs, England. He had no money to start with, but his love for the poor, homeless orphans inspired a boundless faith that God would prosper the undertaking. He did, and the great institu tion at Ashley Downs, supported entirely by voluntary contributions, has educated and provided for many thousands of waifs.
Another of those great souls who in their love for humanity built better than they knew was Annie McDonald, She was only a poor dressmaker who died in New York some years ago, and left everything she had in the world, two hundred dollars, as a legacy to start a home for crippled children. She felt that other charities of almost every kind had been attended to but the poor crippled little ones. She had always done what she could to help them when living, and with a faith that looks beyond obstacles she had left her little fortune to them, hoping and believing that it would suggest to others with greater means the necessity of establishing a home for those poor children. This was the beginning of the Daisy Fields Home for Crippled Children. It stands back of the Palisades, on the Hudson, in the midst of a great field which in summer is covered with daisies. Here the children are cared for until they are either completely cured or able to support themselves without suffering. This is love's way.
A man may be perfectly honest, industrious and self-supporting, and yet be of practically no value whatever to his community. To be of worth to your fellow-men you must be more than honest; you must be helpful; you must be a lifter; you must have an unselfish interest in your kind. The man who thinks only of himself, no matter how much money he may pile up, can never win the love or esteem of his fellow-men.
"So much money and so few friends," was a remark recently made about a New York man who had piled up a great deal of money, but had not a real friend in the world, not one who regarded him with affection or esteem. In spite of his wealth, this man, and there are thousands like him, is of no benefit whatever to his community. He is a liability rather than an asset. His influence is destructive.
There must be an outlet as well as an inlet to a pool of water or the water will stagnate and breed all sorts of vermin. It will also exhale poisonous malaria and poison its whole neighborhood. We, too, must give out as well as receive or we will stagnate. People who are always getting, never giving themselves or their money, who are always grasping and hoarding, who have no outlet to. their lives, are a pest to society; they radiate poison.
Getting and never giving defeats its own purpose, for the selfish, miserly soul never gives or receives happiness. I know a wealthy man who says nobody cares what becomes of him. The only motive people have in cultivating him, he says, is the hope of getting some advantage of his wealth. He believes if he should lose his money no one would go to see him or even visit him in the hospital if he should be ill.
Now, a man who has gained a fortune and lost his friends in the process, has failed, no matter how many millions he may have amassed. A fortune acquired through selfishness and greed by a man who has sacrificed his friendships, his home, his family, who has ground all of his time and energy into the dollar game, does not enrich even himself. The man who grinds the life out of his employees for his own profit, who makes himself a sponge to pull things toward him and who never gives anything out is the worst sort of pauper. His life makes the world poorer instead of richer. His death causes no regret.
Though he may leave a fortune to endow charitable institutions, to build hospitals or colleges after his death, the selfish, greedy man, whose life was all bound up in his own welfare is soon forgotten. The world remembers and builds monuments only to those who are helpful to it.
The supreme test of your work is its survival qualities: its value to humanity. If you are only related to your time and to civilization through self-seeking; if you have only established relationship with your kind through a selfish interest you will leave no blank in the world when death calls you. You will leave only a blank to the questions - How much of a man is he? What did his life mean to the race?