Dr. John Ed Mathison, who pretends to be semi-retired, wrote a good message last month that I am including in this issue. For the record, John Ed is still working hard and “doing good” for lots of folks. Let’s take a look at what he had to say about volunteering.
Time – Problem or Possibility
A major emphasis of my ministry has always been the concept of volunteering. Part of the DNA of Frazer United Methodist Church is the fact that every member is expected to volunteer to serve someplace in the ministry of the church.
Many churches function on the process of recruitment. People are recruited to do certain things. I believe people serve more effectively when they volunteer rather than are recruited. The people who volunteer tend not to “burn out.” People who are recruited figure that they have some task to perform until they can get somebody else to replace them.
Let me share some current reports that show the importance of volunteering. The International Journal on Epidemiology reported an article that asserts that bored people die sooner than people who are excited about life. 7,500 were studied by a group from the University of London. Those who reported they were bored were 2.5 times more likely to die of a heart attack than those who were not bored.
The Bible is very clear that “If we try to save our life, we will lose it, but if we lose our lives in His service we will find life.” Read Matthew 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24, 25. The excitement and meaning to life comes when we invest our life in serving Christ. I believe that volunteering is the best vehicle for doing this.
This month the news services reported that the number of people volunteering is up in both the Montgomery area and the United States. 63.4 million Americans volunteered in 2009, rising by 1.6 million since 2008! This was also the largest increase in volunteering since 2003!
Anne Hails of the Volunteer and Information Center, which serves Montgomery, Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, and Macon counties said the number of volunteers referred to agencies rose 30% in the past year! She acknowledges that some of these were one-time projects, but feels that those volunteers would also be involved in ongoing opportunities.
The rise in volunteers also is being recognized statewide in Alabama. 24.6% of Alabamians volunteer! They give about 102.7 million hours of service. This equated to about $2.1 billion of service contributed. It is also good to acknowledge that more young people are volunteering.
Time is precious. It is the best commodity we have. Use it wisely. An unwise use of our time could put us in greater danger of heart problems. Good use of our time as we volunteer to serve in Christ’s name will create heart possibilities. When our hearts give out to other people, the size of our hearts increase – and an oversized heart is not a spiritual problem!
Volunteer to serve in some area where your volunteering will be an expression of your God-given gifts and the result of your volunteering will make a difference in the lives of people. You not only will live longer, but more abundantly!
Dr. John Ed Mathison
August 12, 2010
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