Claire was in the dead center of one of her red faced, mind numbing moments of frustration. This behavior was a by product of being extremely shy and introverted. Claire’s mom affectionately called these moments “silent stingers” and told Claire that if she weren’t careful she might explode during one of these episodes. She did not think her mother was at all funny.
Today’s “silent stinger” brandished a two edged sword. Claire was primarily frustrated with Meghan, the class brown nose, for her compulsive volunteerism. She was the first to raise her hand to volunteer to answer all questions. She was the first to raise her hand to volunteer for every special need, activity and cause. She was indeed appropriately dubbed “the volunteer of the year” for Claire’s 8th grade class.
However, most significantly, Claire was frustrated with herself. She seemed to never be able to raise her hand to volunteer for anything. No matter how qualified she was for answering a question or for accomplishing a task, her hand remained frozen to her side. No matter what her mind told her hand to do, it simply would not respond.
Claire was suddenly jolted back to real time by the ringing of the final bell and a flurry of activity as her classmates raced for home. Resolving her volunteer phobia would have to wait for another time.
On her long walk home Claire, still miffed over her inability to be a bolder volunteer, remembered the conversation the small group leader from her church had with her group. They had been discussing how Jesus lived His life solely for the benefit of others and about how He was consistently aware of the needs of those around Him. Of course, being fully God, Jesus had the competitive edge when it came to knowing the needs of others. However, being fully man gave Him the choice to either meet the need or ignore the need. Claire’s group decided that for Jesus it was most likely more difficult to volunteer to help others because He truly knew their hearts and He knew how grateful they would be before He met their needs. This of course did not stop Jesus from volunteering to meet needs; He did it because He loved them.
Reflecting on this conversation gave Claire a whole new perspective on what it meant to be a volunteer. Jesus demonstrated that being a volunteer was not about recognition, instead it was about responding to the need. It was not about raising the hand so that you might be recognized for your action. Jesus saw the need and met the need regardless of the reward.
Claire was also reminded that volunteerism was about follow through. Whatever Jesus volunteered to do, He made sure to accomplish. He did not make commitments that He could not keep, but instead, saw each opportunity to completion.
Claire was reminded that on several occasions Meghan had volunteered for one thing or another, only to have been unable to complete her mission. She seemed to be so anxious to volunteer for the next thing that she sometimes failed to follow through. This thought quickly brought a smile to Claire’s face. However, the realization that gloating was probably more offensive to God than her lack of volunteerism caused her to quickly wipe away her smirk.
As Claire approached her home, she realized that being a volunteer was less about the raising of the hand and more about a call to action. She recognized that she was conscientious enough to be aware of her surroundings and to recognize the needs of others. This awareness gave her the competitive edge whenever it came to being a volunteer.
She also realized that her tenacious spirit caused her to complete whatever task she set out to accomplish. Whenever she accepted the challenge of meeting a need, she did her best to finish the task.
Claire realized that her form of volunteerism might never win awards or that she might never be recognized as “The volunteer of the year”, however, she felt good about her style of volunteering being more in line with Jesus’ style. She was sure that was something to be proud of.
Someday she decided that her hand would no longer be frozen to her side. But until that day she decided to give in less to “silent stingers” and to give in more to silent volunteerism. She was sure Jesus would be pleased and that was all that mattered.
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