An Only Life

November 26, 2000

Matthew 6:1,2,4 – Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore, when thou dost thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. (KJV)

Micah 6:8 – He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (KJV)

My mother, from whom I learned the gift of giving and sharing, often used to smile and quip, "You'll get your reward in heaven!"

Recently I had occasion to confront an organization that had earlier reamed out an elderly relative for non-payment (though he insisted he had paid), for which I had then paid, and now, following his death, had found a receipt showing he had indeed paid, as stated.

In speaking with two separate paid "superiors", they each were quick to say, "Well, the trouble is, you see, we only have volunteers working for us." In defence of volunteers, I had to say that I found their answer unacceptable, and was reminded of a conversation I'd had months earlier with an employed friend for whom I volunteered, who said, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone could be paid for what they do!" I had disagreed, for there are many forms of "payment" or reward besides money.

For those of us who are able and love to volunteer, no amount of money could compensate for the countless blessings we receive in what we choose to do. To suggest that a job isn't worth doing, or isn't done properly, unless there is monetary gain is contradictory to the teachings of Christ, as well as many other religions.

I've led a very only life, and like it. I've always been only a housewife, only a receptionist, only a copywriter, only a sales clerk, and yes, only a volunteer. Often the term is also just a…. Of course, not everyone can work without actual payment, for our society is not structured to do so. And similarly, some who would like to volunteer simply don't have the time or energy after juggling their work and home. However, no matter what just a… or only life you lead, if led with love, mercy and mindfulness, it is an important life.

In a conversation with God, I hear him sigh and say, "Yes, and there are still so many who think my Son was only a carpenter!"

Prayer: Dear God, help us all to see the beauty and significance in all the only lives. In those times when we may think we are above someone, may we be reminded there is always someone above us; most of all, You. In Your name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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