Over the years people have sought to put an actual dollar value on volunteering. In a 2014 report put out by the Corporation for National and Community Service, 62.6 million Americans volunteered, putting in 7.7 billion hours, adding up to an estimated 173 billion dollars (click here to read the report)! Wow, that’s just a bit over $20 per hour. When we volunteer, give of our time, it matters and adds value. Schools, churches, hospitals, city parks and recreation, police, animal shelters and other non-profit organization survive, thrive and are dependent on volunteers.
Jeremiah 29:7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Though this verse was about Israel being in exile, it can be applied to us as we serve where we live. We are to be a blessing to where we are. Jesus, in Matthew 5:13-16, called us salt and light to our world, to our communities. We should seek to enhance our cities, our counties, our country, and world as we give of our time, talents, and treasures.
Yet there is more than just the dollar value and the work accomplished in volunteering. According to a review of research done by this same Corporation for National and Community Service, serving is good for our health (click here to read their findings) for the selfless act of giving of yourself has a positive result on both our physical health and mental health. As well, serving builds community as people get to know each, it helps solve problems as we gain from each other’s insights, and we are able to enhance our community providing the people-power to get needed tasks done.
Isaiah 58:10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
Along with these wonderful benefits of volunteering there are some unexpected significant, intrinsic, and almost intangible value to serving. See, serving allows us to learn new skills and gain more experience. For the past few years a bunch of us have been volunteering by de-boning turkeys for a Thanksgiving meal program to the homeless and those in need. We have learned the de-boning skill well and we can pull the meat off a whole turkey in about 3 minutes! As well, we have a BBQ ministry here at our church called the Holy Grill that cooks for many schools and non-prophets and those people have learned the art of good grillin’ and smoking meats (as they fire up the ‘Holy Smoker’) it is good eatin’!
Not only the significance of learning new and more skills but serving builds relationships. As people spend time together and share in the adventure of their volunteering there is great camaraderie, connection, and friendships built. That is actually how I met my beautiful wife, we volunteered together in a youth ministry at a church.
Serving has significant impact on our lives. It is that selfless giving of ourselves in serving that holds back the ‘me’ monster inside of each of us. When we volunteer we are less self-focused and gain the great perspective that the world is not all about us.
The Bible is packed full of challenges, encouragements, and imperatives for serving. Jesus is the example:
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
Because Jesus serves so should we.
Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Matthew 23:11 The greatest among you shall be your servant.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
You may already be serving. Thank you! You are doing a good thing. Keep volunteering and maybe even up your game, if you can. Maybe your life just does not have the margin to serve in some big, consistent venture, so try something small; help a teacher do a short project, ask a leader at your church for something that fits what time you have, try your local Boys and Girls Club, or look into a non-profit that piques your interests. See if there is something you can do with the time you have. The thing about volunteering it is rarely finds you, you have to go out and find it. So why not give it a try?
Seeking the significance of serving with you,
PS We do have a lot of volunteering opportunities at Cypress Church and at our branch churches. As well we do a lot of service in our community. If you are interested please check out website and contact us. : www.cypresschurch.net