Philippians 2:3-4 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (NIV)
Colossians 3:23-24 – Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. (HCSB)
My friend was telling me about her church having a “no volunteers Sunday” recently. Any position filled by a volunteer was left empty – no one directing traffic, no Sunday School teachers, no choir, no orchestra, no greeters, and no children’s workers. The reactions were less than encouraging. Some of the orchestra members actually left when they discovered they would not be playing because they saw no reason for them to stay. One family made a production of walking out during the service because they felt that worship involves routine and with the disruption of the routine came the disruption of worship. I find it interesting that disrupting the routine hinders worship but disrupting the service does not! My friend showed me some of the social media comments people had spent their Sunday afternoon composing. One young mother began her post with “I’m livid”. Her primary complaint dealt with having to care for her own child during the service. There were posts that were a little less angry but still quite open with complaints of the inconvenience. Reading the posts brought Philippians 2:3-4 to my mind. Obviously a few people had the attitude of “if I can’t be seen on stage, there’s no need for me to be here.” Clearly some people were looking to their own interests. There were others who acknowledged the inconveniences and the discomforts and went on to express much appreciation to the missing volunteers. One little boy stated to his mom “I like children’s church better than grown-up church!” There were negative social media posts but also posts from people admitting how they had taken the volunteer workers for granted prior to this but no more. Many people were awakened to the reality that volunteers are compulsory to making things run smoothly. Some people even decided to join the body of volunteers. Lord, I thank You for the people who allowed their hearts to be opened to the needs of others and ask You to touch the hearts of those who are only interested in their own selfish desires. Seeing the different reactions also caused me to look at my own reasons for being a volunteer. Lord, I pray that my service is for Your pleasure and not for the accolades of other people and my own vain conceit. I pray that my work will be done enthusiastically, putting others above myself. I pray that any task I undertake will be motivated by my love for You and done with such joy that it will become an act of worship. Help me to always be aware that my comfort is not the most important part of the worship experience.