“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
Some days I go out volunteering and have the most wonderful experience with other people. It’s seriously all sunshine and roses and I leave with a giant high that makes me want to come back as soon as possible. Other days, I hear nothing but complaints. Complaints about the “job”, about other volunteers, about the organization in general. Sometimes I think to myself “Why are they here?”.
I love the verse above because it describes so much how I want to live my life. But at the same time it bothers me because the duty God has given us to serve doesn’t always result in people doing so out of genuine love.
I’ve encountered a few of these people over the years, possibly as a result of attending a small church and sending a child to a private school where volunteering counts as part of the tuition.
As I begin my own journey, as someone who’s being called to serve more in these roles, I wanted to look inwards and find my own reasons for loving the volunteer jobs I have. Nothing would be sadder to me than becoming the volunteer grouch!
So here are 5 reminders to myself about why I love what I do.
1. I love learning new things and getting real life experience.
I am one of those people that loves learning new things all the time. When the learning is related to something I’ve always wanted to do as a career, even better!
Volunteering gives me the chance to learn more skills and get experience in areas that could help me in the future, once I’m past the stay at home mom phase. Plus, the more I know, the better I can serve down the road. How great will it be when I can be in a position to teach what I know to others so that they can do the same?!
I love volunteering because I have the chance to get real life practice in areas I’m interested in. Maybe one day I’ll go back to work, and I’ll have great things to put on my resume! I’ll be able to speak from experience, and not just knowledge I’ve gained from books. I think that’s pretty awesome 🙂
2. I love that I get to use my spiritual gifts.
This might sound weird to some people, but I love being the person behind “the person”. I recently learned that this is the spiritual gift of helps. Bible.org describes the gift of helps as “The ability to enhance the effectiveness of the ministry of other members of the body.”
It makes me really happy to be the Sunday school teacher’s helper, the one organizing stuff so others can teach, the person checking in and out books at the library so another volunteer can read and help find books.
Some might think I don’t really want to serve because I keep choosing jobs that aren’t “important” but I am actually happier in these roles, not trying to get out of the “important stuff”! I’m going to remind myself of this fact next time I get down because I’m not the leader.
I’m going to keep reminding myself that one of the reasons I love volunteering is because I actually get to do the small jobs nobody else wants.
3. I love making connections
As a stay at home mom, it’s not easy to get out and meet people and have a real conversation. Volunteering is giving me the chance to get out, meet people with common interests, without baby in tow.
I am learning about the lives of the people around me, getting to know their names, their challenges, and their passions. Even if I only spend one or two hours with a group of strangers preparing food or shelving books, it’s amazing how much you can get to know each other. I love that volunteering gives me that!
4. I love showing love!
What better thing in the world than to show people that they are worth your time and effort. That they are loved despite how little you know them. That their time in this world matters!
Giving my time and giving my best to everyone I serve whether they are part of my small community of friends and family or a complete stranger is one of the best things in the world and to some people, it means the world! I love volunteering because I love to share God’s love 🙂
5. I love meeting needs in my community
Given the chance to meet the smallest of needs is one of the best gifts I can give myself.
Sometimes that means helping a child colour a picture or feeding the church with after service snacks so they can stick around for fellowship, or even just making sure books are shelved properly so people can find what they are looking for. It’s all important work.
I love meeting the needs of my community in any small way and volunteering gives me that opportunity!
So there you go. All my reasons I love volunteering! Do you have your own reasons to love volunteering? If not, I suggest you think about it. If you are only serving out of duty, then I encourage you to find something that you really love about what you are doing and remind yourself daily. It could make the difference in wanting to be there and dragging your feet through the door.
Want some more ideas? Here are five more articles about the benefits of volunteering.