We can have a fairly narrow idea of what volunteering is about in our community and what opportunities there are out there considering our busy family, often with little kids still in tow. But giving to others this way can be a highlight of our homeschool experience.
First of all let’s look at what is volunteering? Volunteering is giving to people; giving to the community, the church, the family, and people in obvious need.
Being a volunteer starts at home with family friendly activities – developing a heart that wants to be involved in people’s lives.
When we see volunteering in this broader sense we can ask ourselves the question, without fear of failure and pressure – Considering the different spheres of your life – do you give?
Why Volunteer? Why do we give?
I am a firm believe that Jesus wants his people to have answers – not in the know it all kind of way but in a living practical way. What good where the Pharisees as they quoted their rules and their goodness when there were needy people around them. The people around them were needy in body, spirit and soul. The Pharisees piously said they cared (after all it was the law – they had to care) but their hearts were not touched by the needs of people.
We can be the same – we can volunteer because it is the right thing to do, because it adds to our children’s education or because our heart wants to be like Jesus.
When can we give?
We often think that we need to go out of our home to give to others and that can be tricky with little children. This just isn’t so. If you think carefully, you will be able to find opportunity to bless others, to give of your life, to others in need and yet be mostly at home with your family.
We need to keep our priorities right but have a big, open hearts at the same time. I have discovered that there are seasons in my life. When my children were little it was a season to be mainly at home, now my children are a little older I am in a different season and we can do things differently than before. I am sure there will be many more seasonal changes ahead of us. Each season will bring to you opportunities of when and how you can help others.
How to Volunteer
There are many family lifestyle opportunities but let us not forget the many Volunteer organisations that you may want to pursue in your community.
What can we give?
Time – in this day and age when people are busy busy busy time is a precious commodity. Giving of our time will allow us to interrupt our regular routine and make room for the needy. Giving of our time will see us helping out in charity shops, or meal services, or working bees. Giving of our time will see us visiting people and doing things for them.
Gifts and Talents – Our gifts and talents can be used to build up ourselves – build up our image, build up our reputation, build up a business or they can be used to bless others – not to say we won’t have a good reputation or a successful business but where is our heart? The Scriptures talk about where our treasures are so too is our heart – if we pour our gifts and talents into other people we will be building relationships, we will be caring for others, we will be giving.
Giving our gifts and talents will see us knitting baby booties for new mothers, making cushions for breast cancer patients, gardening for the elderly, reading to the housebound, cooking meals for the sick and recovering, doing maintenance for the single mum – the list is endless. We need to keep our eyes open for ways we can serve with our gifts.
Knowledge – Though I am continually reminded of the Proverb that cautions us that knowledge puffeth up – we have to be honest to say that if we have studied or experienced something we can be an encouragement to other people. I encourage you to be available to pass on your experiences.
- This can be in the form of sharing a testimony – the ways that God has been good in your life.
- It can be in mentoring a younger woman in the art of homemaking, childraising or homeschooling.
- It can be in sharing with your friend over coffee of your latest challenge and the way God is answering your prayers.
- It can be sharing your skill and knowledge of a particular craft to a young person.
- It can be tutoring math or writing, or teaching music.
When we give of ourselves this way people are blessed.
Love – When we talk of volunteering we think of all the things we can do – it is a constant challenge with our society – we think doing instead of being. But the heart of volunteering comes from being willing to share our love. It is a being thing. Can we be love to the people around us? Everyone needs love – our family, our neighbours, the people we meet in the street as well as the people that we have to go out of our way to meet.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13
Do the people around us know we love and care for them?