Today I Saw God
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." – Romans 12:11
I am what I like to call a professional volunteer. That's usually what I say when people ask, "So what do you do?" I've been a professional volunteer ever since I joined Floris UMC a little over 12 years ago. On occasion I do a bit of consulting work (very little), and on and off for a few years I received a paycheck for other short-term jobs, but my everyday 'profession' really is being a volunteer (besides the other very important jobs of being a mother and wife). But being a volunteer isn't just what I do. It's what I love to do.
The above scripture is so encouraging to me. It reminds me why I do what I do and how I should feel about the very important job of serving others. At times, that's not so easy. The world refers to me as a "stay-at-home mom" or a "housewife." Well, if you know me, you'd know that I don't really fit those descriptions; I'm never home and I'm not the best at housekeeping!
When I feel down on myself for not having a 'real' job, I reflect on what the Bible says about helping those in need, serving the poor and lifting up our brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that I'm blessed beyond words to be able to stay at home. I really feel that with that blessing comes a responsibility to serve because I'm able. It's a giving back, if you will.
If it weren't for Floris UMC I wouldn't have had the opportunities to serve as I have over the years. Just for grins, the other day I quickly listed all the ways I've served at, or through, my church. In just a couple of minutes I came up with over 25 ministries or special assignments I've worked on over the years. In the early days it was answering phones or serving at Coffee with the Pastors. Then Floris UMC started GRACE Ministries, and that stole my heart. I found that I had a love for the Latino community so that led me to teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.
As my child grew up, my service work evolved as I grew too, trying new things. I got involved with the preschool, the nursery, Hutchison Elementary School and the youth group. I worked on special committees like the Preschool Board, the Chocolate Festival, the Container Project for Africa, Helping Children Worldwide dinners, Evening in December and a couple capital campaigns. I worked in the nursery for a time, then at the preschool; volunteered for summer camps, retreats and mission trips with the youth; and mentored confirmation students. I stuffed Easter baskets, wrapped Christmas gifts for the needy and fed the homeless. I even sang in the choir.
I list these things, not to boast about my serving at church, but rather, to say that I'm so blessed to be part of an amazing church that would offer me so many opportunities to serve. But these opportunities are not just for me; they are for anyone who wants to get involved. There are long-term projects, short-term projects, one-off projects. You like kids? There's a place for you. You like the elderly? There's a place for you there too. You don't like people so much? There are plenty of administrative things to do. Really, there is something for everyone.
I'm the type of person that gets bored easily so having so many serving opportunities has been a blessing to me. I've learned a ton and met so many wonderful people, some of whom have become my dearest friends. I'm just so darn proud of the church I belong to. It's an amazing place where everyone can find a place to serve.
In everything I've done, and in all the ways I've served, my biggest passion remains with one of my long-standing ministries: the Congregational Care Ministry. This is the silent ministry of the church. The band of angels that serve in this ministry includes some of the most faithful people I've ever met. We have weekly coordinators who send out requests for serving those in our church that are in a crisis. Then there are the meals, transportation and errands volunteers. They make meals for those that are going through really hard times, they drive folks to doctor appointments, they run errands for those that can't get out of the house on their ownand the list goes on.
We do have one problem though. As the church has grown, the needs have grown and the volunteer list hasn't been able to keep up. The folks that are a part of this ministry usually remain for years and are extremely dedicated. That's not a requirement but rather a testimony to the way this ministry touches their lives. If you've served, you know that the blessing isn't always just for the recipient(s) of the service; rather, it's an incredible blessing for the one serving. God works in us as we serve others. This is where I get my "zeal" and "fervor." It's this special blessing that God gives me when I'm serving others that keeps me going.
I'll end with this: "Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." 1 John 3:18
This is a call to service if you're able. I promise you, it will be a blessing to bless others.