We don’t need any more volunteers in this world! We need ministers of God & His Gospel Good News.
We’re all volunteers, right? Somewhere, somehow, in some way, we all give away some of our time and energy for free.
Some of us volunteer lots of hours, others just a few. Some of us choose our volunteering place and capacity, others of us have life circumstances that choose for us. Some of us volunteer with non-profit organizations, others of us are called to our own families within the walls of our own homes. Some of us really like our volunteer roles, others not so much.
If you’re anything like me, occasionally, in the midst of my volunteering, I find myself feeling just a little bit unappreciated, frustrated, angry, resentful, hopeless, or just plain tired. Sometimes I feel a-lot-a-bit those things.
And, in those most-beleaguered and downtrodden of moments, I have found that I must grab my weary heart by the collar and, alongside the Holy Spirit, preach the Good News to myself. ‘Jocey,’ I say, ‘you are not a volunteer! You are a minister of God and the Good News! Stop volunteering and start ministering. For Christ’s sake.’
volunteer noun (vol·un·teer): a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task; synonym: subject, participant
minister noun (min·is·ter): a person who, led by the Holy Spirit, freely brings the Good News of Jesus, in word and deed, to the people around them
Here is my own little spiritual litmus test that helps me recognize when I sink from ministering to just volunteering:
Volunteers focus on a task.
Ministers focus on God and people.
Volunteers just check off boxes.
Ministers meet the truest needs of the person in front of them.
Volunteers give just enough of their resources not to be seen as stingy, after all, they need to preserve something for themselves.
Ministers give generously and freely, knowing that God is their one true Source.
Volunteers are motivated by guilt or fear: ‘I ought to help out…’
Ministers are motivated by love: ‘I’m loved by God, so I just let His love pour through me to others…’
Volunteers are busy: ‘Gotta get this thing done…’
Ministers are attentive: ‘People are more important than and therefore have permission to interrupt this task…’
Volunteers are self-focused, doing tasks so that they can feel better about themselves.
Ministers are God-focused and others-focused, doing tasks with the best good of others in mind.
Volunteers see themselves as capable and competent, therefore they rely on their own resources.
Ministers realize that all of their skills are gifts from God; without Him they can’t do a thing.
Volunteers trudge on ahead.
Ministers listen, sense, ask.
Volunteers do, therefore they do.
Ministers are, therefore they do – and sometimes just be.
Volunteers pat themselves on the back for a job completed.
Ministers are grateful to God for inviting them to take part in His mission.
Volunteers do good things for good things’ sake.
Ministers share Good News for Christ’s sake.
Blessings on all you ministers,