Volunteers and Disciples

Catalyst for this post: Why They Resist Volunteering

According to 1 Corinthians 12, God has brought each person into the Body of Christ (Global, Local, Small Group) to be active in their pursuit of being a disciple of Christ.  Ephesians 4 also touches on this.

In response, “Rob” (see the catalyst for this post) writes:

“The only thing I would like to address would be the term volunteer. I think when we use that term our people get the idea that they have a choice. Whereas as Christians we have no choice; we are called to be involved in building up the body. We need to communicate somehow that the individual is not doing us a favour by “volunteering” but they are actually following God’s command. They are not obligated to us personally, but they are obligated to God and His church. The problem is that I do not have a replacement title other then worker or server.”

I’ve been in a number of conversations (about serving) lately and they all end up in the same place: “We have unrealistic expectations of people.”

This response did not satisfy Jesus.  That response no longer satisfies me, and it should no longer satisfy you.

Early in the ministry of Jesus, he did not stand in the midst of a crowd and ask people to join us.  He didn’t call for a show of hands or pass around a sign-up sheet. Jesus simply told those who would be his followers to take up their cross and follow him.  “Come and DIE with me.” And, those that were interested in being more alive than they had ever been went.  They dropped nets, families and lucrative careers as taxmen to join him.

Those who were more interested in checking their calendars, weighing their options, and saying “not now/maybe later”?

They did not become disciples.

  • One guy wanted to bury his father first.  Jesus’ response?  “Nope.  Let’s go.”
  • Another wanted to say goodbye to his family.  Jesus’ response?  “The train is leaving”
  • A third guy had a bunch of money and Jesus asked him to let it go.  The guys response?  He “walked away, sad.”  Interestingly, Jesus didn’t chase after him.

The only volunteering that we do is when we pick the cross up.  It is at that moment, once we begin the long, arduous trudge up the hill, that we cease to be a volunteer.

  • We follow him in service marked by commitment and cost.
  • We follow him in our love that is unconditional for people.
  • We follow him with our very lives, because he gave his for us. Or, we do not.
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