While we are repeatedly told to serve the Lord, we cannot be certain that what we do pleases the Lord. That is why we are told to serve our Acharyas, because in that case we can know what pleases them and what displeases them, and serving Acharyas will certainly please the Lord, said M.A. Venkatakrishnan.
Again while serving the Acharya, one must serve with a view to pleasing him. One does not think of some easy thing to do, or of doing something that may not be pleasing to the Acharya. After all, the one who is served must be pleased with the service. Isn't that the aim of all service?
Suppose one is employed in a company. Will someone say to his employer that he will work according to his own will and pleasure? If he says this, he will lose his job. Instead an employee will say that his work will be such as to make his employer happy with his work. In such a case, he might even get a promotion.
Likewise, if we serve for our pleasure, we will never attain salvation. We must serve to please our Acharyas and the Lord.
Lord Krishna Himself shows us the importance of serving our Acharyas as they would like to be served. The Lord asks sage Sandipini, what he would like Krishna to do for him. So even the Lord asked His teacher in what way He could serve him, and thus set an example for us to follow.
A story is told of a preceptor, whose disciple would fan him everyday. One day the Acharya fell ill, and had a fever that made him shiver. The disciple, as usual, continued to fan him. The Acharya asked him to stop, because it was making him shiver more. But the disciple said that he would continue to do what he had done for many years. He was not mindful of the Acharya's needs, but just wanted to do his routine job of fanning the Acharya.
This kind of insensitivity on the part of one who serves will get us nowhere. To serve in a way to please ourselves is to serve with pride. To serve in a way that pleases the one being served is true service, and shall not go unrewarded.