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Calling vs Volunteering

I spent this past fall volunteering at Mt Washington elementary school to put together a K-6th grade choir. Not only was the wide age range a terrible idea, but the kids were very ill-mannered and disrespectful to one another and myself. Needless to say we accomplished little to nothing every class period.

After the first two weeks I began to dread going back there. I began to think of ways to get out of teaching the class like: What if I don't show up? What if I am too demanding and the kids want me to leave? What if I do such a bad job teaching that the school asks me to resign? What's the worst that could happen--I don't get paid?! I'm already not getting paid! It would make my life easier to have that hour free each afternoon!!

But I learned at least one very valuable lesson: volunteers need to be treated with all the gratitude you can muster. There are going to be one of two reasons to volunteer for something: 1) You receive enjoyment out of volunteering and that is payment enough, 2) You feel called to volunteer and payment would be an insult.

As a worship leader I work with volunteers every single week. Hopefully they have stepped into the role of church musician because they have some sense of calling to do so, but if I am not rewarding them with compliments and showering them with praise to help boost their enjoyment, then they might feel less inclined to keep volunteering.

After the first week of teaching at Mt Washington I realized that I was not going to get any enjoyment out of teaching this group of students, so my readiness to volunteer dropped from 95% to 5%. However, I still felt called to volunteer and teach these students, and that was a calling I couldn't shake, regardless of how miserable my time became.

There are some landmarks that are just too special to not take note of. Over this past weekend, Katie and I got to enjoy seeing all of these things transpire:
-Isaiah asked to pray at the dinner table and he voiced his first prayer aloud.
-Isaiah pooped in the potty.
-The babies had pees for the first time, and Micaiah despised them. McKenna seemed to enjoy them however.
-McKenna is cutting her first tooth, Micaiah has had his in for a week.

Naturally, I do not care about the simple developments of other people's children, but it's amazing how even the smallest things with your own kid can seem monumental.


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