Would you mind helping with –you fill in the blank? “You know I don’t think so, I’ve done my part –yesterday.” How many times have I heard that statement? Living on the fumes of yesterday’s service. Not being in leadership positions since my move, thankfully I am now spared those excuses. I put myself in places while living in Ruston to recruit volunteers—with the thick skin of knowing the worst that could happen would be getting a “No”, I did not mind asking the question. For some reason—perhaps guilt?—the no always came with an excuse. Never a simple “No”---always an explanation of why it was no. Truthfully, the reason did not matter to me. If the answer was no, I needed to move on and make a few more calls to fill the slot.
The sad thing is the opportunities missed by those quick “no’s”. Opportunities for deep and rich life experiences when serving- Life shaping and heart enriching experiences.
Since moving I have two long term commitments of service. Occasionally a solo shot will come along, but the long term commitments are the most stretching. I am winding up another school year of those two commitments. Admittedly, I am looking forward to a break, but also anticipating what the next year will hold.
This completes my second full year of mentoring a student through Kid’s Hope. Each volunteer is placed with a child who they follow throughout their elementary school experience. Meeting once a week—the focus is on a relationship as well as helping the student academically. I have seen my sweet little student grow from one who only cared about what I might have in my bag of tricks to give her to one who now cares more about when we can spend time together again. We have lessons in sharing, manners, relationships, graciously winning and losing, as well as reinforcing what is learned in the classroom. I love this sweet child and she knows it. What could be better than as many as possible to love our precious children?
This year I added tutoring at the Union Gospel Mission. Yes, the same mission the book, Same Kind of Different As Me, has as its backdrop. The child or children in front of me change quite frequently in this setting. The goal of the shelter is to get these families in their own homes. I have marveled as I have seen children the first time with attitudes varying from defeat to belligerence morph into just kids after a few meetings. A smile and a pat on the back can go a long way in building the confidence of an innocent child. The shelter takes the hopeless and begins the process of instilling hope—with the side benefit of strengthening the family. My role is simple—help them with their school work and let them know I care for them.
With a wide variety of interests and many activities I love to pursue, these two opportunities to serve are the most rewarding in my life currently. Today’s world stresses going for the gusto—finding fulfillment through checking off that “Bucket List”. Having a bucket list is fine, but when it begins to consume your efforts, time, and talents, perhaps it has become a narcissistic idol. I love to travel, love adventure, have things I really want to do, but when all is said and done—what I have done for others is my only lasting legacy. All the rest is vapor and will be blown away with the winds of time. The investment of time in another--- will impact their lives---their life being better gives them the desire to pass it on---and thus begins the lasting legacy of service. I am so glad I do not say, “No”!
Listening to a sermon by Dr. David Jeremiah he recounted how we knew we were saved. The first was the understanding of the gospel message and the second was how you lived once you received salvation. There will come a day of judgement. We are all held accountable before The Mighty Judge for our lives---YES there is grace---but we also are called to live our lives as He instructed. I am not certain how far the recounting of all we have done in the distant past will go. When asked, “What have you done lately to further My Kingdom?” what will your answer be?