When was the last time you did something for someone who could in no way repay your service or return the favor? Someone helpless or disadvantaged in some way? Look around you. There are hurting, lonely people everywhere...many who cannot help themselves.
Unfortunately, our motivation for helping others is often impure. We help because we want to be thought of as generous and service-minded. We want people to think of us as extraordinary Christians. We want to hear our name mentioned from the pulpit or see it printed in the paper. Or.. we just serve with the understanding that whoever we help will repay the favor at some point.
The world is all about volunteerism these days...from high school students working for service hours in order to graduate , to Oprah's "Angel Network" which millions of people bought into when her show was on the air. It's cool to volunteer...for the right cause, that is! But again, what is the motivation behind the volunteerism? And, is it being done in the name of Jesus Christ?
When Christians volunteer, it should be with the goal of sharing not only the love of Christ, but the gospel of Christ with those whom they serve. Otherwise, it is futile.
Do you realize that there is a small army of humble and tireless volunteers in our churches who serve quietly and without fanfare carrying out the mission of Jesus in the world? Look around...check out the "We need people to..." section in your bulletin...hang out at the church for a few hours during the week...talk to some of the senior citizens in your church. These volunteers are sometimes hard to find...intentionally so...as they do not want accolades or recognition. But, they are there. They are raking and weeding in the church yard, stuffing bulletins in the office, driving the elderly to appointments, visiting the sick in the hospital and delivering flowers to the many nursing home residents and home-bound people on the church rolls.
My daughter and I recently had the privilege of riding along with an amazing, energetic (we could hardly keep up with her) and godly woman who volunteers at our church. Her name is Bobbi. I had recently discovered that Bobbi was involved in delivering flowers to home bound and sick people in our congregation and felt led to help out with this ministry. When I found out that Bobbi was one of the volunteers who did this, I was thrilled. I have long admired her from afar as a godly, joyful and faithful servant of God and a prayer warrior. I wanted the opportunity to "shadow" and learn from her. In addition, I had felt a real leading from God to get more involved in ministry with my daughter. I wanted her to develop a heart for helping others who can't help themselves.
Each Monday morning, Bobbi and a few others gather up the Sunday morning altar flowers that have been divided and put into small vases. They also pick up a handful of church bulletins from our recent service. They then load the flowers in their cars and head out to the local nursing homes and hospital to deliver the flowers and visit with the people at each site. They go to individual homes, as well, where there are members who cannot get out for one reason or another.
Although I had visited many nursing homes as a young girl with my mother, who had a heart for the elderly, as well, it was still heart-wrenching looking into the eyes of so many lonely, hurting people. I had tears brimming in my eyes nearly the whole day as we prayed with the residents and saw the joy it brought them to have a visitor who cared. It is somewhat overwhelming as you look around at so many who do not ever get a visitor. The need is great in our nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Because of time constraints, of course, we had to focus on the people on our list (and it was long!) who had some connection to our church.
We visited 5 nursing homes and a hospital that day! Whew! But what a joy it was. I was walking on air for several days after that. Did you know God desires for us to be others-minded? It is what brings us the greatest joy and fulfillment. We are not here to only care about ourselves. It is our mission as Christians to serve others with humility and love, as Jesus did.
My daughter and I have committed to continue helping in this ministry in the coming months. Actually, we can hardly wait until it's our turn again!
I challenge you to look into a lesser known ministry at your church where they are in need of help. And remember to pray for and thank God for the faithful saints who work tirelessly and humbly in the important and sometimes thankless ministries of your own church.