2 Corinthians 9:7 – Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (NRSV)
My youngest child, Tucker, turned four on October 30th, and for the first time, he had a children's birthday party. He decided on a "Thomas the Tank Engine" theme, and since I know how to decorate cakes, I thought I would make him one in the shape of that train.
However, it took me a total of five hours — time that I didn't really have in my schedule. The cake part was easy with a shaped pan, but the icing had to be dyed into six different colours, including red, black, and royal blue. I didn't have quite enough decorating equipment, so I had to keep washing things out when I changed icing colours. The details were very small, and it was hard to get the face right. I spent the entire afternoon hunched over the kitchen counter, trying painstakingly to recreate an edible Thomas.
Then, Tucker appeared in the kitchen and asked to see. I held him up so he could look at the finished product, and he gasped. "Mommy! It's Thomas, and you made him just for me! It's because you love me, isn't it!"
I think that sometimes we do church work and other volunteering the very same way. We start out meaning to do something special for God, but we end up rushing to fit in one more activity. We get absorbed in the task, which might not go as easily as planned. And then, it is all too easy to forget why we are doing what we're doing.
Our tasks — whether serving on a church committee, volunteering care for the elderly, or knitting mittens for the homeless — are not just acts to sustain an organization or to do someone a favour. They are sacred acts that express our devotion to the Lord of heaven and earth.
Prayer: Lord God, help us to remember that to serve You is an honour for each of us and a gift to You. Amen.