Harold William Griffis – “My Creed”

At the age of 18, Harold Griffis wrote a letter to himself on December 10, 1921. The letter conveyed in written form his commitment to serving God and man through the ministry. He reaffirmed the self confession at the age of 20 on February 15, 1923. This letter was in his possession untill be passed away the day after his 58th birthday in 1961. His wife Evelyn kept the letter untill she passed away in 1987. It was still in the original envelope, labeled “My Creed”, when I found it in a box.

“…There is, I am afraid, too much “Ego in the Cosmos”, as Kipling says. … [1]

“Think only of other folks. They must be served.

“It does not matter what happens to you, you must sacrifice yourself for the others.

“… if you can serve in such a way to make others others happy, to help others realize their dreams and work out their plans you will then have done that which was laid before you. You will, if you do this, have lived up to the sermon you preach, that is, you will have run the race that is set before you.

So tonight, alone with God, I make this resolve and this vow: that I will give myself entirely to the service of God and man; that I will forget absolutely, that “I” exist; that I will in service do whatever is needed, whenever it is needed, regardless of the wishes of “I”.  Therefore from now on “Harold Griffis” does not exist as far as I am concerned but God (does) and the world does and they both need me.

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Footnotes

[1] The quote, too much ego in the cosmos is  ascribed to Kipling, but its origins appear uncertain. It was used by him in 1891 in “Bertram and Bimi” (Life’s Handicap). It means ‘too much vanity or self-interest in my vision or system of ideas’.

Rudyard Kipling, Life’s Handicap, Chapter 26: Burtran and Bimi:

The orang-outang in the big iron cage lashed to the sheep-pen began the
discussion. The night was stiflingly hot, and as I and Hans Breitmann,
the big-beamed German, passed him, dragging our bedding to the fore-peak
of the steamer, he roused himself and chattered obscenely. He had been
caught somewhere in the Malayan Archipelago, and was going to England to
be exhibited at a shilling a head. For four days he had struggled,
yelled, and wrenched at the heavy bars of his prison without ceasing,
and had nearly slain a lascar, incautious enough to come within reach of
the great hairy paw.

‘It would be well for you, mine friend, if you was a liddle seasick,’
said Hans Breitmann, pausing by the cage.’ You haf too much Ego in your
Cosmos.’

The orang-outang’s arm slid out negligently from between the bars. No
one would have believed that it would make a sudden snakelike rush at
the German’s breast. The thin silk of the sleeping-suit tore out; Hans
stepped back unconcernedly to pluck a banana from a bunch hanging close
to one of the boats.

‘Too much Ego,’ said he, peeling the fruit and offering it to the caged
devil, who was rending the silk to tatters.

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