“Make yourself necessary to the world and mankind will give you bread”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Worldwide Laws of Life

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in many of his masterful essays, pondered this formula. He was expected to follow in the steps of his father and grandfather as a Unitarian minister. Although he did become an ordained minister, Emerson was not content to minister in the ways of his forefathers. He recognized his gift was different. On fire with enthusiasm to reveal his ideas on morality, self-reliance, and the soul, Emerson began to write. His ideas were new to many people, and his audience began to grow. Before long he met with success, and today Emerson’s essays may be found in many bookstores and libraries. Emerson was true to his own formula, “Make yourself necessary to the world and mankind will give you bread.” He bravely stepped forth and created a need for what he had to give the world by making his talent available.

A few years ago, a group of unemployed artists banded together to form a business called “The Starving Artists.” Today, their paintings are sold throughout the United States. Another example of an entrepreneur is Wally Amos, the creator of Famous Amos Cookies. He began by baking a deliciously good chocolate-chip cookie. The word spread about how wonderful his cookies tasted, and his friends wanted more. From a small beginning, the business grew into national status. Wally found a need, or desire, and filled it!

These innovative people believed, along with Emerson, that if you find the special talent you have to offer and use that talent to produce something the world can use, the world can supply your needs. What activities bring you great joy? What activities do you perform well? What flows easily for you? If you could do whatever work you desired and had some assurance that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? What are your goals? You may wish to revisit them and think of a way people could benefit from what you have to offer . . . and then offer it! You might find, as did Emerson, Famous Amos, and the artists, that what it takes is a taste of something good—something you have to offer the world—and people will find themselves hungering for more.

With the sheer driving force of advancing technology, it becomes increasingly clear that opportunities are available in many areas for those who feel an inner pull to be of service. For example, the environment, the physical sciences, the economy, health and medicine, education, communications media, religion, charity, philanthropy, volunteerism are but some of the advancing technologies. The evolution of humanity and the universe seems to be vast in its conception, yet curiously experimental and tentative, a truly creative work in process. If you choose, you can be a conscious part of that creative process! You are necessary! We have come a long way from the cave shelters of the Ice Age, but it may well be, in God’s great plan, that we have vastly further to travel. Science is beginning to reveal a creation of awesome magnitude, intricacy beauty, and order, and we sense that what lies beyond our instruments is vastly greater still.

Yes, my friend, there are abundant opportunities for the one who elects to make himself, or herself, necessary to the world. The rewards are not only the “bread” provided, but an inner awareness of your contribution to God’s purpose and to the uplifting of the human race through loving service.