Big chocolate eyes gazed up at me adoringly. “Mama, I want to help you!” my young child exclaimed with great enthusiasm. My heart melted. Someone wanted to help me without being asked or forced to! Someone was actually volunteering happily!
I looked around my messy house. With seven children nine and under, there was always something needing to be done. “Okay, great! Please put away all the toys in the living room!” “Aw, I wanted to feed the baby.”
“Well, I just fed the baby so he doesn’t need to eat right now, but the toys do need to be put away.” “I’ll just wait until the baby is hungry again to help you!”
“Mama, I want to help you!” “Great, please set the table for supper.” “Aw, I was hoping we could make cookies!”
“Mama, I want to help you!” “Great, please change the baby’s diaper.” “Gross, I only wanted to change his clothes!”
Lest you now think my J’s were terrible children, these conversations are products of my imagination and any relation to actual happenings is purely coincidental. My kiddos were pretty good “mother’s little helpers” back in the day, but I do remember when they volunteered to help, their idea of what needed to be done was often very different from mine!
Sometimes we volunteer to serve the Lord with the same attitude. “Lord, I want to help you!” “Okay, the church bathroom is a mess. Go clean it up.” “Wait, Lord, I wanted to do something more exciting like speak at the next women’s Bible study.”
“Lord, I want to serve you.” “Great, take care of that visitor’s crying baby so they can hear the gospel message.” “Hey, it’s not my turn in the nursery. I’ve already raised my own kids and retired from the babysitting business. Can’t somebody else do that? I want to sing a special Sunday morning.”
“Lord, I want to help you.” “Wonderful! Go talk to that woman that nobody wants to be friends with. Invite her to your house for a meal.” “Whoa! Wait a minute. I can’t invite her into my house. She is always criticizing me. She’ll talk trash about my home and food. I can’t be friends with her! I want to organize homecoming Sunday!”
“Lord, I want to serve you.” “Excellent! The bus route needs more workers.” “Oh no, anything but that! It’s too hot on the bus in the summer and way too cold in the winter! I don’t have the patience to deal with a bunch of noisy, squirming kids! I want to be in charge of flower arrangements!”
We feel so good about ourselves because we “volunteer” to serve, but often we only volunteer when, and where and how we want to! God wants us to volunteer with no strings attached, willing to serve whenever, wherever and however He desires!
Our hearts feel a special joy when our children help us cheerfully without complaining. I believe that God is also pleased when we serve Him in whatever task He calls us to do–no matter how insignificant or distasteful.
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much….” Luke 16:10.