In Sanskrit, Seva means 'selfless service' and it is describing the action of giving (being in service) without the need to receive anything in return.
Acts of Seva are often given as a benefit to others like a community or group. Being of service in this way can take practice and discipline. It's not always easy to simply give with no expectation of receiving something in return. You may not receive a thankyou. You may not be acknowledged. You may not be known. Selfless service takes away the need for validation and acknowledgement from our actions. We give because we want to be of service, to offer benefit to others, not to reap a reward or a nice, fuzzy feeling for ourselves.
Of course, when we find ourselves in a place in our lives where we give without the need to receive, and we offer up our time willingly and lovingly, we may also find that we receive abundantly anyway. Seva is not about never allowing ourselves to receive. We are allowed to give selflessly and be abundant, all at the same time.
The difference between giving as an act of service is that we don't do something just because we will receive. We give because it's part of who we are. ✨