The Quote Garden
 “I dig old books.”
 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Helping
and Making a Difference

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Down in their hearts, wise men know this truth: the only way to help yourself is to help others. ~Elbert Hubbard

Wishing good, merely, is a lukewarm charity; but doing good is divine. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

If you would not cease to love mankind you must not cease to do them good. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. ~Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

The purpose of life is not to be happy — but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all. ~Leo Rosten

Live simply that others might simply live. ~Elizabeth Ann Seton

We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not.
~Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

It seems to me that any full grown, mature adult would have a desire to be responsible, to help where he can in a world that needs so very much, that threatens us so very much. ~Norman Lear

Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful. ~Author Unknown

I am but one
But I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But I can do something.
What I can do I ought to do,
And what I ought to do,
God helping me, I will do.
~Anonymous, in The Standard, 1902

The willingness to share does not make one charitable; it makes one free. ~Robert Brault,

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little — do what you can. ~Sydney Smith

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. ~Edmund Burke

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one. ~Mother Teresa

Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him. ~Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965)

He who gives when he is asked has waited too long. ~Seneca

This is the true joy in life — being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. ~George Bernard Shaw

Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. ~Author Unknown

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

While earning your daily bread, be sure you share a slice with those less fortunate. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

The difference between a helping hand and an outstretched palm is a twist of the wrist. ~Laurence Leamer, King of the Night

No man stands so straight as one who stoops to help a child. ~James J. Davis, c. 1920s

Some find their heroes 'mid the battle's strife;
The greatest heroes are in private life.
~Simeon Carter (1824–1911), Poems and Aphorisms: A Woodman's Musings, 1893

To have and not to give is often worse than to steal. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

Charity sees the need, not the cause. ~German Proverb

In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy. ~Karl Reiland

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice  [V, 1, Portia]  [much later adapted to "So shines a good deed in a weary world" by David Seltzer for the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory —tg]

If we could all hear one another's prayers, God might be relieved of some of his burdens. ~Ashleigh Brilliant

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light. ~Norman B. Rice

I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. ~William Penn

Be an opener of doors to those who come after you, and don't try to make the Universe a blind alley. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own. ~Benjamin Disraeli

If you always give, you will always have. ~Chinese Proverb

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pike (Thanks, Carl)

You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give. ~Author Unknown

I wondered why somebody didn't do something. Then I realized, I am somebody. ~Author Unknown

Want to get ahead? Make life easier for those around you. ~Dan Rockwell

Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even. ~Daniel Berrigan

The Lord loveth a cheerful giver. He also accepteth from a grouch. ~Catherine Hall

I too had noticed that our prayers for others flow more easily than those we offer on our own behalf. And it would be nice to accept your view that this just shows we are made to live by charity. I'm afraid, however, I detect too much less attractive reasons for the ease of my own intercessory prayers. One is that I am often, I believe, praying for others when I should be doing things for them. ~C. S. Lewis

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pike (Thanks, Carl)

Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile. ~Wilfred Grenfell

It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference. ~Tom Brokaw, as quoted in John C. Maxwell, The Success Journey, 1997

The only care
      That I shall share
      Shall be the care of others,
      And on the road
      I'll halve the load
      Of overburdened brothers.
I rather guess
      It's selfishness
      That drives me to such actions,
      For in this plan
      I find I can
      Forget my own distractions.
~John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922), "A Useful Whim" (October Eighteenth), The Cheery Way: A Bit of Verse For Every Day, 1920

God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through. ~Author Unknown

The thing is, I think, to think less of ourselves and what we are to our work, and more of our work and what it is to us. The world moves along, not merely by the gigantic shoves of its hero-workers, but by the aggregate tiny pushes of every honest worker whatever. All may give some tiny push or other and feel that they are doing something for mankind. ~John Richard Green, letter to Louise von Glehn, 1870

Seek to do good, and you will find that happiness will run after you. ~James Freeman Clarke

Do not commit the error, common among the young, of assuming that if you cannot save the whole of mankind you have failed. ~Jan de Hartog, The Lamb's War

One must be poor to know the luxury of giving! ~George Eliot

I am going to give from every corner of my soul. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife

Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. ~Horace Mann

When you dig another out of their troubles, you find a place to bury your own. ~Author Unknown

Help one another; there's no time like the present and no present like the time. ~James Durst

Even if it's a little thing, do something for those who have need of a man's help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For, remember, you don't live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too. ~Albert Schweitzer

The only gift is a portion of thyself.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love the earth and sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people... re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem... ~Walt Whitman

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking "What's in it for me?" ~Brian Tracy

Trees outstrip most people in the extent and depth of their work for the public good. ~Sara Ebenreck, American Forests

Things of the spirit differ from things material in that the more you give the more you have. ~Christopher Morley

It's not that successful people are givers; it is that givers are successful people. ~Patti Thor

True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity. ~Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1970

Find a need and fill it. ~Ruth Stafford Peale

If you do a good job for others, you heal yourself at the same time, because a dose of joy is a spiritual cure. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sometimes a man imagines that he will lose himself if he gives himself, and keep himself if he hides himself. But the contrary takes place with terrible exactitude. ~Ernest Hello

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. ~Kahlil Gibran

No joy can equal the joy of serving others. ~Morarji Desai (1896–1995)

To fold the hands in prayer is well, to open them in charity is better. ~French Proverb

While duty measures the regard it owes
With scrupulous precision and nice justice,
Love never reasons, but profusely gives,
Gives, like a thoughtless prodigal, its all,
And trembles then, lest it has done too little.
~Hannah More

It's good to be blessed. It's better to be a blessing. ~Author Unknown

If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart. ~Arabian Proverb

Act always from a sense of common humanity, and let God judge if it be charity. ~Robert Brault,

When we grow old, there can only be one regret — not to have given enough of ourselves. ~Eleonora Duse

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog when you are just as hungry as the dog. ~Jack London, "Confession," The Road, 1907

If I thought I was going to die tomorrow, I should nevertheless plant a tree today. ~Stephan Girard

I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise
Of ordinary people leading ordinary lives
Filled with love, compassion, forgiveness and sacrifice
Heaven's in our hearts
~Tracy Chapman, "Heaven's Here On Earth," New Beginning, 1995 ♫

The vicious count their years; virtuous, their acts. ~Samuel Johnson

Look around the habitable world: how few
Know their own good, or knowing it, pursue.
~Juvenal, Satires

The deed is everything, the glory naught. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it. ~William James

See yourself always as cause, and perhaps a better world will be found among your effects. ~Robert Brault,

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. ~Maya Angelou, 1992

Give, and blessings boomerang back to you. ~Terri Guillemets

If all human lives depended upon their usefulness — as might be judged by certain standards — there would be a sudden and terrific mortality in the world. ~Gene Tunney

Every action of your life touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. ~Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1814–1880), "Address to the Young"

The destroyer of weeds, thistles and thorns is a benefactor, whether he soweth grain or not. ~Robert Ingersoll, inscription to Volume I, Collected Works

There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love. ~Mother Teresa

The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden under ground, secretly making the ground green... ~Thomas Carlyle, "Varnhagen von Ense's Memoirs," 1838

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. ~Robert F. Kennedy, 1966

I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine. ~Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007)

There are two ways of spreading light — to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. ~Edith Wharton, Vesalius in Zante

If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it. ~Lucy Larcom

[U]sefulness is happiness, and... all other things are but incidental. ~Lydia Maria Child, The American Frugal Housewife, 1829

You may not have saved a lot of money in your life, but if you have saved a lot of heartaches for other folks, you are a pretty rich man. ~Seth Parker, quoted in Herbert V. Prochnow, 1000 Tips and Quips for Speakers and Toastmasters, 1962

My life is my message. ~Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi (1869–1948)

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ~Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi (1869–1948)

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~Attributed to Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi (1869–1948), beginning c.1990s  [His grandson Arun Gandhi uses that, or simply "Be the change" to sum up his grandfather's essence. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Be the change you want to see happen rather than trying to change anyone else. ~Arleen Lorrance received the six "Love Principles" in 1970 when she was teaching in a ghetto high school in Brooklyn, New York. These simple principles were put into practice as part of The Love Project (Another of the principles: "Receive all people as beautiful exactly as they are.")

Don't be afraid of outgiving God. It is impossible to do that. ~Charles R. Swindoll

Go the extra mile. It's never crowded. ~Author Unknown

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his roots. ~Frank A. Clark

The most fundamental winning formula is to bet on human decency and be patient. ~Robert Brault,

Life is never so busy that there is no time to serve. ~Author Unknown

If you pursue good with labor, the labor passes away but the good remains; if you pursue evil with pleasure, the pleasure passes away and the evil remains. ~Cicero

I've learned... that sometimes coming public with certain things, it inspires other people. And sometimes I want to keep things private... but then I found out that it helps other families... ~Bubba Watson, January 2014, speaking of adoption

Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.  ~James Russell Lowell

You can't lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself. ~Gene Mauch

If everyone howled at every injustice, every act of barbarism, every act of unkindness, then we would be taking the first step towards a real humanity. ~Nelson DeMille

If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. ~Betty Reese

Each good deed strengthens our angel wings. ~Terri Guillemets

There is no use whatever trying to help people who do not help themselves. You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb himself. ~Andrew Carnegie

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. ~Mother Teresa

A good example has twice the value of good advice. ~Author Unknown

Improvement begins with I. ~Arnold Glasow

They are also heroes who cheer the parade and return quietly to their uncelebrated lives. ~Robert Brault,

There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self. ~Aldous Huxley, Time Must Have a Stop

Instead of counting your days, make your days count. ~Author Unknown

Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others. ~Saint Augustine

Each of us can only do the best we can for as many as we can and that will never be good enough for those of us who care! ~Rea Cord

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