Ramana Maharshi was a great Saint who lived in Southern India. Devotees from around the world would travel to his ashram to receive his blessings.
One day, Ramana Maharshi was pinning some leaves together to make dinner plates for the ashram. A young devotee, who was standing nearby and watching, asked, “Gurudev (a respectful way of addressing a Guru or spiritual teacher), is it not a waste of your precious time to do such small tasks? Anyone else could have done this.” The Saint smiled and said, “My son, no work is a waste of time, if it serves a good purpose and if done in the right way. Making these plates is as important as any other task, because these plates will be used to serve food in the ashram. Besides you can always learn something useful from every piece of work you do. Take this pinning of the leaves, for instance. These pinned leaves become important when they are used to serve food to the hungry. After eating the food, they are fit only to be thrown away. So, too, our body is important only when we use it to lead a good life and also to serve the needy. The selfish man, who lives all for himself only, wastes his life, even if he lives for a hundred years. He is no better than other animals such as sheep or goats which also live, eat, and grow.”
Moral: Ramana Maharshi teaches us that no task is small as long as we approach it with the correct attitude and do it for a good purpose. The main purpose of our lives is to serve God. Hence, we should take every opportunity to serve God, by gratefully participating in any available satseva, (service unto God). Satseva can be one of cleaning, cooking, or conducting a lecture or a satsang (spiritual meeting) or some other spiritual activity.