“There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in – that we do it to God, to Christ, and that’s why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.” – Mother Teresa
I have always been the type who would value time like it’s my most precious possession. As much as possible, I would like to avoid idle moments and spend my every day doing something that I like, regardless if it is just a spontaneous night-out, a writing gig, or just lounging around the house, watching my favorite series.
At work, apart from the usual tasks that I do everyday as a publicist, I “try” (with it being the operative word in this statement) to get involved in company events, such as parties, and surprisingly for me, volunteer activities. I must admit that in the past, doing volunteer works wasn’t really in my list of most favorite things to do, simply because I thought it was not the perfect definition of spending my time wisely.
However, two years ago, my job has opened an opportunity for me, which eventually led to changing this lousy way of thinking.
As usual, I was not the happiest person when I found out that I would join a volunteer activity – on a Saturday – and write about it. Aside from the fact that I was a new hire then and I did not know a single soul joining the same activity, I thought I would rather spend my Saturday at work than tire myself building houses. All I cared about was getting it over and done with and heading home.
During the culmination of the activity, the area’s officer-in-charge gave his parting words to the volunteers, which left me feeling guilty.
“Whether you’re eating or drinking, or whatever you’re doing, do it in the glory of God.”
These words, as simple as they seem, struck a chord in my heart. I did not have the purest intentions when I kicked off that day, but I ended it with big realizations. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself because my life has been revolving around superficial things while there are those, who have dedicated most of their time changing and alleviating the lives of the oppressed. I was too busy devoting my time and effort to useless activities when I could be spending just an hour or two changing people’s lives.
The reality finally sank in. My eyes and heart were too closed to see and respond to the calling of serving our fellowmen. Forgive me for sounding a little too pious, but I believe it was because I was volunteering for the wrong reasons. I was not doing it to serve the Lord, but to serve myself. This realization, no matter how sad it sounds, made me see the good in the bad. My awful perception about volunteerism pushed me to rethink my relationship with God. Have I really lived my life in His glory? Have I really seen Him in other people? Have I really loved Him?
Needless to say, I was able to complete my work assignment. But apart from that, I took home something from that activity, which changed the way I see things, especially time. I can’t say that I have mastered it, but I am taking baby steps to be able to fulfill whatever it is that He wants me to do.
Today, I am trying to join as many volunteer activities as I can. I have painted classrooms, cooked food for the abandoned, ran for scholars, and fed the orphans. These still do not compare to the amount of work that most volunteers that I know have done, but I believe these are good starting points. What is important is that I am able to spend my time, not only for the things that I like, but also for the things that really matter. Best part is, of course, doing all of these for God’s greater glory.