Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why Volunteerism is Important?

"Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth"   
Shirley Chisholm.

Serving and assisting others is potentially one of life's greatest joys. Volunteering in the community or in a social agency can potentially change someone's life! Volunteering and helping others can potentially lift the volunteer out of an emotional, physical, or spiritual rut. "Knowing you did something good brings an emotional uplifting that can never be matched by money or fame" (Why Volunteering is Important).

I feel that volunteering and acts of service are also what GOD calls all of us too. We do not have to be "great" or "famous" to serve those who are in need. Those who are in need are all around us, possibly even in our own homes but the busyness of life influence us to not notice.

Consider what JESUS said, "Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served....." (Mark 10:41-46 - Message Bible).

During my life, I have been blessed with many opportunities to serve those who are in need, and many times I did this when I was struggling in my own life. But I have learned and I am still learning that when you focus on helping others, GOD can take care of your seemingly unchangeable situation(s) because your focus is on uplifting others.

You may feel that volunteerism isn't for you but I encourage you to know that you can do it! By GOD's grace, I have served in large religious organizations as a greeter, small group facilitator, and as a youth minister. Beyond this, I have assisted men who were recently released from incarceration. Many were incarcerated for over thirty years! Many were emotionally, spiritually, or physically broken. I assisted men from prison starting at twenty-years old. When I first started, I was terrified! But I am thankful to GOD that I was given the privilege to serve. Many were charged for crimes that society would consider non-redeemable but all things are possible with GOD!

Through my various volunteer experiences, I gained a better understanding of the wisdom of not being judgmental. At times, a lack of empathy, understanding, or sympathy may influence us to be judgmental. Nevertheless, now is the time to overcome judgmental attitudes and fear. You can use your time, talent, and treasure to heal and bless others through volunteerism.

Consider this story: "Six months after complaining about a sore throat, Eric Hartwell died from cancer at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. He was 9 years old. After such heartbreak, many parents would avoid returning to its setting. Hartwell's father, Mike, came back. At Mott, 15 people who have lost children eventually returned to the hospital to help others going through the same thing.... "I ask myself every day, 'Have I made a difference?'" said Hartwell. "If I haven't I feel like I failed him." Hartwell and the others have taken something devastating and twisted it into something positive" (Parents who lost children return to aid others at hospital).

GOD can turn any painful situation into something that can be used for good. Mr. Mike lost his son to cancer....but even through his pain, Mr. Mike made his mind up to help others in need! We all should strongly consider following the lead of Mr. Mike.

You can do it. I can do it. Let's remember that it's not too hard to help someone. One day we will need help and we will need someone to assist us. Let's continue the cycle of helping others.

GOD loves you!

Humbly sumbitted,

Edmund W. Walton

From The Detroit News:

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