Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Giving.

A young volunteer favors one of our senior food box clients with a ninja on their box. Luckyyyy...

I've drafted several versions of this post.
One was fairly philosophical about the different motivations for people to volunteer (love, fear, duty) and comparing and contrasting the effectiveness of each motivation as calculated by the work that is done and the influence on the individual. (Yep, I miss school.)
One was full of complaints about the ignorance of the masses and how stressful they make my job this time of year. (This may be a news flash, but volunteering during the holidays is NOT an original idea. Plan ahead, people. Plan ahead.)
Another was my typical list of what I'm grateful for. But, it doesn't change much from year to year, so you can just look up past postings and get about the same thing out of it.

This year, I'm going to tell you about a quick story that is an illustration of my message today: Service and giving does not require an appointment.

I was driving home this summer and found myself in a long line of cars waiting to turn right at an intersection. Up in the distance I saw one of those sign-shaker people from Little Caesars out on the curb doing his thing. It was murderously hot outside and the young man was looking exhausted and generally discontented with his task. I kinda chuckled to myself as I looked at him; he was wearing saggy jeans belted below his butt and a long NBA jersey on, and I thought about how he probably took the summer job on to fund his video-gaming addiction.

I didn't think much of it as I continued to inch forward in my line of cars. A minute or so later I looked over again at my sign-shaker friend, just in time to see a middle-aged woman approaching him with something in her hand. As I looked closer I realized that she had purchased a snow cone from a nearby snow shack in the parking lot and was offering it to him. There was no look of recognition in his eye which confirmed the fact that the woman was a complete stranger. He hesitated for a moment while she reassured him there was no catch, but then accepted it gratefully as he put his sign down to taste his new treat.

I smiled the rest of the day thinking about that lady, and how I wanted to be more like her.

Jesus Christ, while on the earth, was the supreme example of this. Though he did have certain things specifically on his agenda during the day, the majority of his service was done on the way to do other things. It reconfirms to me that I don't need to try and squeeze service opportunities into my busy schedule, because if I'm aware enough I can find them all around me.

I hope your Thanksgiving weekend was great. Thanks to each of you for thinking enough of my ramblings to peek in on them now and then.