Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What It Means to Volunteer

Dear Parishioners,

I have asked, on quite a few occasions, that people be willing to step up and volunteer their gifts, talents and abilities for service in the Church—and ultimately, for the greater honor and glory of God. I truly believe that everyone has something to contribute to the parish, in accord with the words of St. Paul:

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. (1 Cor. 12: 4-7)
With this in mind, I suggest a few things for you to ponder concerning the idea of service.

Too often today, people look to see what they are going to benefit from a situation: “What am I going to get out of it?” “How much am I going to get paid?” The idea of service, in my opinion, should be seeking the good of the other—not one’s own self—without calculating the cost or benefit. Consider how Jesus had washed the feet of His disciples while giving the following exhortation:

Do you realize what I have done for you?  You call me “teacher” and “master,” and rightly so, for indeed I am.  If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.  I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.  (John 13: 12b-15)

Being of service to others does not always mean doing it when it’s convenient for me or when it fits into my busy schedule. I can remember many, many years ago, as an altar boy being required to serve the 7 AM as well as the 5:15 PM Mass on various weekdays! Did I like getting up so early before school to serve Mass? Not really. Would I have rather been outside playing with my friends in the evening? Most likely. Being available to help others--even if I am inconvenienced--certainly needs to be kept in mind since service to others usually involves some personal sacrifice and possible inconvenience.

Being of service to others should not include the primary purpose of getting the recognition of others or being noticed. Jesus told us clearly in the Sermon on the Mount: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.” (Mt. 6: 1) When we do things for others, we may, unfortunately, never get any recognition or even a “thank you.” But remember, God sees all things, knows our true motivation, and, in the end, is the only one we should be worried about pleasing!

With the above things in mind, I, once again, ask you to offer your gifts to help others, to help strengthen our parish and ultimately to give honor and glory to God by building up the Kingdom of God here on earth!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

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