Some years ago a new staff member of our church asked me how I had the gall to ask people who are already busy at work or in the home to get involved as volunteers at church. “I mean, don’t you feel a little guilty doing this?” he asked. “Isn’t it hard to heap such a burden on people?” He had a point.
But I knew of a bigger point: “During the next few months you’re going to meet people who stand at drill presses, ten hours a day, five or six days a week. When they go home at night, few of them sense the pleasure, meaning, and purpose of life they’ve heard advertised in commercials for beer or computer systems. They’re godly, conscientious people, and they feel thankful for their jobs. But they don’t find satisfaction for their souls at the drill press.
“And you’re going to meet fine, hardworking people in real estate who show thirty homes a week. If they’re lucky, one buyer will make an offer, but they’re not lucky every week. Many are extroverts who love showing property and helping families find the right home, but even then they probably don’t arrive home at night filled with deep inner joy because of their latest showing.
“You’ll meet insurance salespeople who have been selling policies for twenty years. While they feel grateful that the insurance business puts food on their table and sends their kids to college, the thought of selling one more policy likely doesn’t float their emotional boat.
“You’re going to meet car dealers and stockbrokers and bricklayers and police officers and plumbers who, despite their commitment to their careers and jobs, are honest enough to admit that their secular vocation does not offer enough meaning to satisfy the deeper needs that stir in their souls.
“Some of them love their jobs; they feel stimulated and energized by their work. Some of them even leave their workplace each day knowing that they have honored God by their work and their love for people. But few of them would say: This is what life is all about.”
I looked directly into the eyes of my young friend. “You and I get to invite these people to be used by God in ways they never imagined. We have the opportunity to empower them to develop gifts they didn’t know they had. We can cheer them on as they courageously assume new levels of Kingdom responsibility that fill their hearts to overflowing. And we get to see the look on their faces when they realize God has used them to touch another human being.
“No,” I said, “I never really feel guilty inviting people to become volunteers in our church. Never.” — The Volunteer Revolution: Unleashing the Power of Everybody (Bill Hybels)