Volunteers: Blessed to Be a Blessing
By Don Richardson of Nauvoo, IL, USA
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. —James 3:13, 17–18 NRSV
One summer, the church gave my wife and me the opportunity to serve at the Kirtland Temple Visitor’s Center. We felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as we volunteered there. One of the most powerful times we felt the Spirit’s presence was when a non-member staff person asked for a “good-bye” meeting.
This man, who has family ties to the church, wanted to meet in the Temple at 8:00 on the morning he was to leave Kirtland. Those who met included one Catholic, a staff person from the British Isles, a young woman from Honduras, and a young man from French Polynesia. Other staff members were present, including my wife Evelyn and myself.
There was no preset agenda. We shared hymns and testimonies. Nancy offered a prayer of blessing that included each one there. I believe God’s Spirit blessed each of us beyond what we expected. I cannot put into words the experience we had that morning with the Spirit of God and the unity in diversity. Only God’s Spirit can communicate experiences like this. Words are not adequate to express the blessings they bring.
My experience over the years has been that when I “take up the cross and follow,” the Spirit of God blesses me more than those I try to serve. Working with the Lord is deeply rewarding because not only does God bless those I am serving, but the Lord also blesses me beyond my expectations.
Prayer for Peace
Gentle and Wise God, why are we always surprised by how much sharing your peace blesses us?
Spiritual Practice: Offering Blessings of Community
Receive and share Blessings of Community. Begin with a prayer of gratitude for the friendships in your life. See and feel connections with family members, spiritual friends, people in your congregation and community, and people and creatures in God’s sacred web of life. What blessings flow to you from these circles? How have you felt the love of the community?
Today, God, I will look for ways to volunteer with a cause that promotes Christ’s mission of peace.