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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Volunteer (11/23/06)

TITLE: Discouraged Volunteers, Remember This...
By David Huckabay Jr
11/26/06


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There was a great weight on his shoulders, pressing down by the cares upon his mind and heart. Jim just completed a 12 hour shift at work, and was now hustling to the church, about a 40 minute drive away, to fulfill his commitment as a volunteer. 7 P.M. was the time the Royal Rangers meeting started, and it was also the time he finished work. Jim loved volunteering with the Royal Rangers, a scouting club with the goal of reaching, teaching, and keeping boys for Christ. Rangers was also a father/son activity since his sons where involved too. Yet, the strain of family, work, and volunteering, week after week, year after year, was beginning to weigh heavily on him.

“Why am I doing this?” Jim asked himself as he waited at a red light, rain beating on the windshield as the wipers slid back and forth. “I’d much rather be at home, I’m really too tired.” Yet, he continued his lonely trek; after all, his sons would need a ride home.

At the church, another leader, or commander was facilitating a Bible study. Commander Jim walked in, wearing his kaki uniform with merit and leadership award ribbons on his chest. Training and camp patches were sown on his shirt pockets and the sleeves bore the Rangers emblem, an American flag, and Outpost numbers. The other commander also wore the same uniform, as did a few of the boys. He said “Hello” to the boys as he sat his briefcase down on a table in the corner and mustered a smile of cheerfulness, even though he felt anything but cheerful. He, however, did not want to alienate any of the boys.

“Will you shut up!” cried a 12 year old boy as he looked angrily at another boy. They were at it again. It seemed like in the last few weeks, the bickering and arguing amongst the boys were increasing; name calling and interrupting the commander’s lessons seemed to be a usual occurrence now. Eventually, order and discipline was set. Yet for Jim, questions about why he does this thing, a thing for free flooded his mind.

He knew that keeping his priorities straight would help him since he would be placing God first in his life, then wife, family, work, then volunteering; trusting that God would take care of and bless his efforts. Every now and then, however, Rangers would take center stage, and of course, his wife would remind him of his proper commitments. None the less, fatigue was making its presence known.

“Jim, you’ve been in Rangers for a long time,” another commander asked at the end of the meeting. “Have you ever been burnt out?”

Jim thought it ironic that Alan would ask this. Apparently, Jim was not the only one feeling this way. Jim related that he has been burnt out before, perhaps now. He suggested taking a vacation from volunteering. Lengthy volunteering can be like a job, so treat it as one, and take a yearly vacation from it.

Jim recounted a few successes he has had over the years in Rangers. At the start of one meeting, an 8 year old boy ran up to him, threw his arms around his leg and exclaimed, “Daddy!” This boy had no real dad; Jim became a substitute daddy. There were also the times he lead boys in the sinner’s prayer, an introduction to Christ. Jim also said that at this last summer’s Pow Wow he was asking himself why he kept volunteering in Rangers. The answer came to him as he was watching many of the boys flood the alter at the services, praying, answering God’s call on their lives, to go into the ministry as pastors, evangelists, or teachers. Rivers of tears on the cheeks of boys who were touching God caused tears to well up in his own; his heart ached for them, a good ach, a fatherly pride. This is why you do what you do. So that you can help God reach, teach, and keep these boys for Christ. They are the future men of God, future leaders of families, churches, business’, and our country.

The burdens on Jim’s and Alan’s shoulders were lifted. A good talk with a brother in Christ, a prayer or two, and they were ready for battle. Discouragement can be a weapon of the enemy. Yet, remember this, with Christ in us, who can be against us.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 12/04/06
Have you ever told us what it's like to be an overburdened volunteer! This is very authentic, and I can tell it comes from your heart. Thanks for sharing.
Sara Harricharan 12/05/06
Very, very encouraging. Good job, this was a pretty good piece.