Not Volunteers

So you belong to a church and you “volunteer” your services there?  If this is your reasoning, according to my devotional today, you are dead wrong.  You might say this is an example of stinkin’ thinkin’ (see previous posts Stinkin’ Thinkin’ and Even More Stinkin’ Thinkin’).  The church is not our club, and we are not volunteers.  According to the apostle, Peter,

“… you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  1 Peter 2:9

The point is, if you are a Christian, you have been called.  God chose you because you have certain gifts and talents that are necessary for the growth and well-being of His body, the church.  Our arm or leg or brain does not “volunteer” to do its job — it does so automatically because that is what is was designed to do.  You fit into God’s plan, and your piece is important.

According the author of my devotional, here are some differences between those who are called and those who volunteer (this is my paraphrase of the information).

  • A volunteer sees his or her service as an obligation they have undertaken.  The called are honored, and eager to be used by God
  • A volunteer will often become offended and quit if corrected.  The called are hungry to learn and grow and will accept godly advice.
  • A volunteer will also complain and sometimes quit if things become hard.  The called accept sacrifice and persevere in order to reach a goal.
  • A volunteer puts in as much effort as they can “afford” or “can fit into their schedule.”  The called give their all.
  • A volunteer avoids situations that require change.  The called are ready to be transformed.
  • A volunteer may be envious or intimidated by the gifts of others.  The called are secure and able to admire and celebrate the abilities others.

Now, we all have different seasons in our lives.  We may be called to do one task when we are young, another when we have small children and something completely different as we age.  We also need to spend time in prayer, allowing God to help us discern our particular calling at any given time. The point is, we are always called and we are always needed.  It’s not a choice.  As Charles Foucauld (1858-1916) said,

“Once I believed there was a God I saw no other course than to serve him.”

For a review of the devotional I’ve been using, you can go to this post:

The Insanity of Sacrifice by Nik Ripken — Book Review