I’ve been guilty of thinking in the past that by doing good works; it will get me past those pearly gates one day. While it might have eased my conscious a little bit, I now know that it has nothing to do with my eternal home. Heaven is a gift given to us by God, by his Grace and through the sacrifice of his son Jesus. Phew… now that we’ve gotten that BIG thing out of the way… why DO we actually volunteer our time? How does it make a difference in our lives? Well… I think that’s personal.
When I ask some volunteers this question, there are many different answers that I get: “It makes me feel good to serve others.” “The Bible tells us to.” “I have to for school.” “It’s court ordered.” “It’s fun.” “It’s the right thing to do.” “Someone did the same for me once.” “I want to give back.” The truth is… I don’t believe it really matters why someone chooses to volunteer their time or why they think they are volunteering… because God will use them through their volunteer work regardless of the reason why they are there to begin with.
Case in point: Before becoming a staff member here at Trinity, I was a college student. A college student required to do 60 (yes SIXTY) hours of community service in one 12 week semester. This was the first time that I found myself forced into doing a large amount of community service. Lucky for me, I had just recently been married (and became a member) right here at Trinity where there is an extensive Social Ministry program. My opportunity to serve was laid before me.
My reason for starting might have been “I have to for school” but little did I know, God had a plan for me and I had a lot to learn through volunteering. God uses volunteer opportunities as a chance to reach each of us where we are. It is a chance for us to connect with Him by serving others. It is a chance for us to grow spiritually and personally. Serving Jesus is something that all of us are able to do because God created us to do it. Just as He created us all as individuals, our gifts are unique and volunteering is the opportunity to share those gifts with others.
So how can you get involved? Whether your time volunteering is spent serving the homeless, preparing a funeral luncheon or switching the slides up on the balcony, there are countless jobs to be done inside of our church that take not only attention and dedication from our volunteers, but love and kindness. While some volunteers love the opportunity to join the worship team and sing praise to our God, others would prefer to help decorate the sanctuary when our Lord’s house is quiet. Maybe you have a heart for feeding the hungry or enjoy spending time teaching children about Jesus. There are tasks that can be done from home, during service, once a week or once a month. Reach out, see where your talents might lead you and you may find yourself on a path God intended but you never imageined.
So now I flash back 10 years to the student in her final year of college. Instead of writing a paper for that class, I am writing this blog for you. In those past ten years I have come a very long way. I’ve fallen in love with Social Ministry and God’s path for my life has become clear. I am so blessed by this amazing opportunity to have employment doing something that I am so passionate for and I get to serve Jesus EVERY DAY! It all began with “having to” volunteer. It continued with “getting to” volunteer. When it comes to volunteering; for me, it’s personal. God used volunteering as a way for me to grow closer to Him. I know volunteering can change your life… it changed mine.
1 Peter 4:8-11
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.