I find a great deal of joy in my volunteer work. I get to work with a number of long term and short term volunteers. Often times we get people who show up for just a couple hours and that is great. I appreciate their time. Sometimes we get people who don’t know what they are getting into or just don’t want to be there and thus have a bad attitude. I appreciate their time as well. I try not to differentiate which ones will serve me but just treat their time as valuable. Not true of everyone I work with as they will dismiss people just by their look. Recently this happened in the case of a young volunteer who was in elementary school and only signed up for a couple hours. Small and unassuming. My partners dismissed him as worthless. I had other ideas.
Matthew 10:30-31 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” We are valued by God. He even sent Jesus as a sacrifice. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” We are worth the life of the Son. Consider that for a moment. This is priceless. Jesus understood the value of individuals and was willing to die for each of us. His life reflected love for us. Jesus embraced everyone including children. I try to reflect this in the way I treat others.
How foolish it is to dismiss anyone as not worth it. I was determined to show this young person that he was valued. On this day we were planting so we set to our task. To my surprise, this young man proved himself energetic. We moved quickly and efficiently. I showed him how to plant. He taught me how to count to 59 in Spanish. We talked about our common interest in animals. It was a joy to work with this young man. I hope he had a great time and would want to volunteer more in the future. He left after a couple hours as I continued to plant. I grinned as I realized how blessed I was to have had the privilege of working with this nice young man. I was glad I did not dismiss his value. I hope to see him again.
True story. I do a lot of weeding. Looking around for plants that don’t belong. There is one weed in particular that is very elusive. It is much easier to see in the sunlight. The other day I was pulling weeds but the day was mostly overcast. It was very difficult to locate the elusive plants. Then it happened. The sun peeked out for just a few seconds revealing a small area covered by the weed. I dove in and started pulling. I got only one as clouds covered the sun. Annoyed, I angrily scoured the area for the rest. It took forever to find everything without the light of the sun and I could not be sure I got them all. I harrumphed as I moved on to another area.
Sure enough the same scenario! I dove in to get one weed when the light disappeared. Doubly annoyed I searched as best I could for the rest. No telling how many I missed without the light I needed. I moved on hoping I got them all but not confident. In another area, it happened again. This time I laughed out loud. “God! You are so funny!” I grinned as I dove in after the weeds and the light disappeared. Scouring the area I wondered … Did God really have a sense of humor?
There are definitely things I find funny in the Bible. The only answer I could come up with was this, Genesis 1:27 “God created man in His own image…” People have a sense of humor (for the most part) so you might be able to infer that we get this from God’s ability to make things humorous. Definitely, something to think about. It made some sense. But there is more.
I finished as best I could and began to walk away. As I did, the sun came out again. Brighter and longer than any other time that day. I turned around expecting to be able to finish the job, only to find the job complete. I did find at least a majority of the weeds without sunshine. As I viewed the area a number of things dawned on me. John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness…” God makes light and reveals Himself in really cool ways. I had a certain amount of apprehension about what I was doing. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” I was in an environment I love, doing something I like, yet I was having attitude. Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I then wondered. Coincidence or was He helping me get my job done by leading me to the areas that needed attention? No humor intended? Also, I realized that I had been doing my job angrily. James 1:20 “The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
Perhaps God was bringing light to my foolish behavior? Maybe some combination of those things. I’m not sure. As I surveyed the area, thinking about the nature of God and how He can take a simple task and reveal concepts that help me, I thanked Him for light, help, peace, correction, as well as the ability to laugh.