Value on Volunteerism
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
(1 Peter 4:10)
One of the core values of GraceDrive Ministries is value on volunteerism. It has started with 100% volunteers—from different areas of the world, different fields of expertise and experiences, different cultures, different churches, different gifts, talents, and skills, and not to mention with their own different responsibilities to balance. As God exceeds our expectations for this young nonprofit organization and as the ministry expands, there has to be one full-time personnel, who has also been one of the volunteers.
There is this common notion that if you are “just” a volunteer, you can slack in your commitment to work because you are not officially hired and paid. Or some will just participate if it would be beneficial for them. But as the term suggests, volunteerism can be defined as “a voluntary, deliberate service to others over time, without compensation.”* A key element of a volunteer behavior is that the person freely chooses to help and has no expectation for something in return. Voluntary simply means you want what you’re doing, and you want it done by intention. You commit to be into it even without compensation or recognition.
As what we personally witnessed with GraceDrive, being a volunteer is more than just giving your spare time whenever you want it, but giving your utmost service because it is your commitment to the Lord more than anyone else. GraceDrive has helped us understand what it means to take the extra mile when it comes to serving others. It opened our eyes to a bigger mission field—that in reality, there are much greater needs in the ministry and society than what we’ve seen before, and that there are more diverse ways to help than what we are just used to do. It is encouraging to see donors and volunteers freely offer whatever they have despite their own challenges. Some are also financially needy, but they sacrificially donate. Some don’t have extra money, but offer their hands-on service instead. Some are very busy, but they spare time to participate. Some can’t be there in the operations, but they intentionally spread the word and pray for it. Some offer their humble houses and their own limited resources. Some did fly to the Philippines at their own expense just to meet with the recipients and see for themselves what God has been doing in and through GraceDrive. There is no little contribution in passionately working for a goal. What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together!
Christian volunteers serve not for what the recipients or the organization can give them in return but what God can and will—the graced privilege of serving Him though they are undeserving, the multiplied joy to be His channel of blessing, and the surpassing worth of seeing God’s hands in all these. It is priceless to witness His work in the struggling ministers and needy people, how they can still smile and spark hope through the little help, presence, and prayers they can give. Volunteers may not be paid for the service, but what compels them in dedicating and committing themselves is this very reason: they are gracipients, recipients of God’s great grace, and “as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15). Spending their own resources, giving their time for the preparations, and having that fear of engaging to the fieldwork even with the threat of another capsizing boat (Iloilo-Guimaras), volcanic eruption (Taal, Batangas), war (Mindanao), typhoon (Luzon), and COVID-19 (worldwide). That fear is nothing compared to the joy of seeing people having their faith in God restored through a simple yet committed heart of a volunteer worker. As bonus, we cannot deny the fact that we also enjoyed planning together online and offline, learning new things, going to new places, meeting new people—these are all graces!
To file leave from your no-work-no-pay job, to leave home and travel thousands of miles and spend thousands from your own pocket, to offer free consultations and services despite your needy family, to even sell your car so the ministry can continue operating, to keep persevering despite some challenges and oppositions—all these sacrifices done for the sake of Christ’s name—will never be in vain. And like the missionary David Livingstone, we can humbly say that “All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.”
This is a call for us to encourage everyone to work for God’s glory, and trusting Him for more grace to us who are already in the service to be more faithful, committed servants of the Lord as an outflow of our worship to Him, knowing that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13) .
by AJ Villanueva & Rona Escala
* Definition from iresearchnet.com