Editor’s note: This is Volunteer Appreciation Week! How are you recognizing your volunteers? Let us know by leaving a comment below. And, don’t let the week go by without sharing this devotion with those who serve in your ministry!
Working in human resources has to be one of the toughest jobs around. A manager hands you a checklist of qualities and you’re tasked with finding a person to match the paper. Detail-orientated, but not a micromanager. Positive personality, but ready to get down to business. Such a delicate mix of traits can be hard to find!
After reading hundreds of emails and resumés, you think you’ve found the right person. Now, it’s time for interviews, aptitude tests, and screenings. But no matter how much you learn about people, no matter how thorough your checklist is, hiring someone is always a gamble. Can he handle the job? Does she have the right skills? Will he flake? Can I count on her?
As God chooses his servants, he doesn’t gamble. He knows your heart. He knows your inmost thoughts, motivations, and frustrations. He has blessed you with specific talents and gifts. He knows what you’re capable of doing. And, with all of this knowledge, God has given you purpose in serving his people. He loves you and wants to make your service meaningful.
This isn’t like human resources with hundreds of individuals vying to do the same job. No, God has prepared a special place for you to serve at (name of your church or organization). And the job description is simple:
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16 ESV).
Do you ever wonder why God didn’t take us to heaven right away after Jesus’ crucifixion or after we came to faith? The sacrifice had been made. Jesus had defeated death. He rose in victory. Our relationship with God has been restored - so what’s the holdup? Your neighbor. Your college roommate. The young mom in line at the grocery store. Your boss. Anyone who doesn’t know the love of Jesus yet. (Read Matthew 5:16 again, placing special emphasis on others.)
God has recruited you to spread his Word and to help grow his Kingdom. Those people I just mentioned are living in darkness. The darkness of sin controls their lives, but God has given you the ability to break through the darkness with the light of our Savior. (Read John 1:4–5.) What’s more, even Christians, people who have been believers for decades, experience the darkness of sin, of fear, of hopelessness and discouragement at times. They, too, can certainly benefit from your words about Jesus and the light he brings. They, too, are blessed when they see Jesus’ love at work through you.
It’s not something you have to consciously turn on or off - you’re shining the light every time you serve. When you make the coffee, when you lead the Bible study, when you set up the chairs, when you read to the children, (if possible, mention other specific staff or volunteer tasks) - we see the light of Christ shining from you and we see the love of Jesus working in you. It’s a selfless love, a grace-filled love, a love that shows others: Jesus died for me and for you!
Some of you here today have been serving for years. Others in our group are brand-new to service. But you may all have feelings of doubt at times. Frustration and even anger may creep into your heart at times. You become overwhelmed and tired sometimes. Despite all of this, though, remember one thing: the light of Christ in you need never go out. (Read Psalm 136:1.) God’s love will endure forever! And that love is working in you and shining through you. His gift of forgiveness through Jesus will always be there - for you and for those you serve.
People may say that today’s world is darker than ever. Don’t be discouraged! The darker the world gets, the brighter Christ’s light in you can shine. The Holy Spirit is constantly at work. He’s stirring up faith in the hearts of unbelievers, he’s building up confidence in the hearts of worshippers, and he’s working in your heart, too. Day after day, God promises to renew your faith and refresh your spirit for service. He has many more days of Christian service and good works planned for you - all for his glory!
Please pray with me: Heavenly Father, we thank you for all of the Christian servants you’ve put to work here at (name of your church or organization). Their service shines the bright light of your Son, Jesus Christ, to everybody they see. Lord, guide us all to keep that light alive despite the sin and darkness of the world in which we live. Send your Holy Spirit to work through each one of us, so that you will forever be glorified. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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