Sometimes it’s good to approach something from a different perspective. If you’re a church staff member or church leader, then you know all too well how relentless the need is for recruiting volunteers. Most of the time the church is grateful to have volunteers, but if you flip the script, in reality volunteers should be grateful to have the opportunity to serve at church. In Ephesians 1:15-19, Paul gives us four incredible things that happen when we love one another through service:
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:15-19
1. Serving others helps you know God better (v. 17). When you volunteer, you are taking on the persona and and character of Jesus, who told his disciples that he came not to be served, but to serve. Volunteering makes you more like Jesus (Matthew 20:28).
2. You discover hope as you share it (v. 18). Another famous saying of Jesus is that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). What you discover is that when you volunteer and serve others, you’re literally sharing the hope of Jesus with them, whether you’re on stage or behind the scenes. And when you share hope, you discover hope yourself. Hope is always contagious. The best way to strengthen your hope in Jesus is to share it with others through serving.
3. Serving others utilizes the limitless reloadable prepaid debit card of God’s presence in your life (v. 18). Yeah I know it’s a bit clunky, but here’s the illustration: if you’ve got a teenager or college student, then you’re probably familiar with prepaid debit cards. You can give someone a debit card with a certain amount on it, and when it runs out, it’s out (unless you reload it). God is infinite, we are finite. Think of His presence in our lives like that prepaid debit card. Let’s say your debit card has $100 worth of God in your life, and you know if you spend that $100 God will always refill it with more of His presence. You can hide the card and never use it, or you could spend that $100, knowing that God will always reload it. It’s limitless. God’s presence in your life is like that. Many of us keep His presence and power to ourselves rather than “spend” it through serving others. When you serve others, it’s like you’re clearing out the debit card and God’s fresh presence will always refill it. And from an eternal perspective, every cent of God’s presence that you “spend” in serving others actually deposits in heaven as an eternal reward. The more you “spend,” the more you serve, the more of God’s presence you experience and the bigger your rewards are in heaven!
4. You leverage your God-given power to change someone’s life (v. 18). You literally have the power to change someone’s life. When Jesus promised his disciples power when the Holy Spirit came on them (Acts 1:8), it wasn’t a metaphorical or mystical power. You literally (by your words, actions and sacrifice) have the power to change someone’s life. Life doesn’t get any more meaningful than that!
So, if you have the incredible privilege of volunteering at your local church, be grateful!