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What motivates you?

March 13, 2023

I was speaking with an out of state friend recently and the conversation was around her board and her frustration. It seems that some were volunteering on the board because it looked good on their portfolio; it helped them advance in their goals. Volunteerism has become a new buzz word and everyone is encouraged to volunteer at some place, which is a really great idea and we love the people who work with us. So, when was the last time you volunteered? What motivated you? How did it go? What was your take away? How much did you know about the organization? How much did you know about the people you encountered? How invested were you? What was your heart like? Volunteerism by nature is geared towards the volunteer. What their timeframe looks like, what project or cause they are interested in, what motived them to do good.

I was at First Baptist Church Sunday and Pastor Joel Dorman made a big distinction between volunteering and serving, and while I never thought about it, it rang very true to me: When we volunteer it is to make us feel better and fill a deep need inside us to be part of something good. When we serve, it is not about us, but about the people or the cause we are serving.

We all have seen it, the videos that show a person’s generosity to feed a homeless person, all while recording the video … who was served at the moment?
The ‘donations’ that are given during a crisis situation, that are often just a way for us to get rid of things we don’t want any longer, old, sometimes soiled things, ‘it is better than nothing’ attitude, without recognizing the harm we do to people who are already struggling.
The Missions trips where we want to be seen as the generous people without acknowledging the gifts and abilities of people who could help rebuild a home, or help dig the well.
The projects where we need to make sure we have pictures taken.

We often times talk about “helping without hurting” and it might be helpful to see the amazing giftedness of people around us and their ability to do so much themselves and sometimes just need a little encouragement, someone walking with them and giving them some new insights.

This morning I read “For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure” (Bible), as you volunteer check your heart motivation, check where your treasure is, and then use your gifts, skills, passions to serve well.

Maybe I need to rename my ‘volunteer application’ to a ‘service application’ to remind people that when they work with us it is about the people and initiatives that they serve.

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