Have you ever volunteered at something you love? Maybe it was a skill you love to use and you found great opportunities to use it. Maybe it was a place you loved so much you volunteered at every chance you had, just to see them succeed. There is something about volunteering that makes us feel alive, appreciated, accomplished.
Admittedly there are times when you volunteer at something and you feel like the person or place you were helping just didn’t have their ducks in a row and you were under utilized. Let’s face it; if that happened often you would stop volunteering there now wouldn’t you? Those times are hopefully few and far between.
Volunteering … is my way of giving back to the place and people who helped to teach me, loved me and supported me growing up and continue to teach, love and support me to this day. – A.G.
What I want you to recall are those times when you volunteer because you know you make a difference; you know you are appreciated; you know what you do matters. Was that not a place of joy? Maybe you gave a day or a couple of hours, or even an entire vacation. Whatever it was you felt a sense of accomplishment. Look back, remember, experience it in your mind right now and hold on to that.
Many years ago I had a week off for vacation and I was young and single. What was I going to do? The choice was simple, I chose to volunteer the week at my favorite camp – Monadnock Bible Conference. There were a couple small projects I did and one major task at hand – to build a work bench with construction grade 2 bys. The work was fulfilling, the project worthwhile, the satisfaction great.
I will always remember that week. I worked at it because I cared, because the effort was appreciated, because I felt the camp was mine; I took ownership.
One of my favorite volunteer quotes is, “I help because I own this place, it’s my home” – K.V.
Have you had that experience? Have you given it all you had because you took ownership? One of the great things about this kind of work is that you, as the volunteer, take all the ownership in your heart but the burden of responsibility is not all on your shoulders. Someone asked you to come because they needed help and they had to take ownership of YOU as the volunteer.
Hear what I am not saying: I am not saying you have no responsibility. I am not saying you can succeed or fail without any accountability.
You are responsible to do the work assigned to you. You are accountable to do your best. And you do because you love it; because you don’t want to let someone else down; because you want the recipient of your talents to succeed. At the beginning of the day you arrive and take direction and at the end of the day – you go home.
There is Joy in the act of volunteering but I want to introduce another word – freedom. There is freedom in volunteering. Freedom to do your best. Freedom to succeed greatly and with thanks. Freedom to fail miserably but be encouraged in your efforts and appreciated for your hard work.
Check out these definitions of freedom from reference.com:
- the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement…
Now compare that to the definition of job:
So why not take today and work as if you are a volunteer? Take joy in your work today. See the tasks at hand, prioritize them, and then attack them with the vigor of a volunteer. Grab hold of the freedom to succeed. Grab hold of the freedom to make mistakes knowing at the end of the day you gave it your best. Put on the heart and mind of a volunteer. Make the job your own. Make the work your own.
The Subheading of Hebrews 12 reads “Jesus the example,” and what an example He was:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Step up. See what the volunteers see in you. Work as if you are one of them – because you are. You are the heart of your business.
In Christ Alone,
Check out these great volunteer quotes…
I want to offer teens and adults the same opportunity I had to connect with their Lord and take a break from the world. I have been blessed with the gift of service and have been blessed by camp that it is only natural for me to honor God by serving others by volunteering. – M.G.
I am passionate about being a vulnerable and available vessel for the Creator of all things. God loves and He is love according to His Word – yet He chooses to reveal that love in a variety of ways. One way He choses to love His people is through His people. I delight in taking part in such a mission. To be able to fill a hot chocolate jar for a bunch of rosy-cheeked teens, chilled from tubing. To be able to vacuum the dining halls so those at camp can fellowship and learn more about their Holy, Mighty God and the call He has on their life. To be able to help guests have their best stay possible by welcoming them and showing them to their rooms. It is my responsibility to know the love of God myself and then to make myself available for Him to show His love to others. It’s the way of Jesus. – T.R.