It’s 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and I can see my breath on the glass as I stare out the car window at the frosty prairie view speeding by. All around me in the car are other girls catching a little more sleep to make up for our early start.
The driver is listening to music to keep her awake as we cruise down the highway. We are on our way to a fundraising job for our church. It’s a 3-hour drive until we reach our destination, and there’s a lot of time for contemplation. There is so much going on these days. It seems there is always an opportunity to keep busy, whether it is leading an activities club group, Sunday school, fundraising for the church, helping out when a friend needs a hand, keeping up with the events that go on with my youth group, etc. I could have something to do every day. I am along as often as I can be. But as I think about the long day before me I ask myself, why do I actually do it? Why, for example, would I wake up early on a Saturday morning to do a fundraising job, when I could be sleeping in, like most other people my age would be?
I need to learn
When I really think about it, I know that it is often just my own lazy, selfish nature that keeps me from wanting to do anything for anyone else. I’d rather sit at home and finish my book; I’d rather get caught up on my favourite TV show; the list goes on. Me, me, me. I need to learn to be finished with always thinking about me! I need to learn to give up my own will, to rather serve and bless the others. I need to learn to humble myself and say “no” when I am tempted to live for myself. It’s something that I’ve realized I really need to do, so that I can learn to do God’s will rather than my own.
And it is definitely a work; a sacrifice. I find a lot of resistance within myself. To sacrifice means to give something up. I’m tempted to complain and drag my feet. “I really should go because it’s my duty, and if I don’t maybe people will wonder why I didn’t. I just wish I had some time to myself once in a while.” When these kind of thoughts come up I think of the words in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
A cheerful giver
When my mind is made up to be a cheerful giver, and not help grudgingly or of necessity, I come with a good attitude. I may still be tempted to these thoughts, but then it’s a firm and decisive “No!” to living for myself, and the thoughts are put to death. And I know that when I have this mind then God will give me all the strength I need to “not grow weary in doing good.” (Galatians 6:9) Then when an opportunity comes up to be along in serving and sacrificing, I can be ready, and have a good and edifying spirit about me.
It’s totally up to me what kind of attitude I have! When I am happy and willing then it can only go well, and I can be an encouragement for the others. Maybe someone else is having a hard time; then I can lift the burden and be an example. If I have a complaining and grudging spirit, others can sense that, and it can bring them down too.
I experience a blessing
So why do I do it? Why do I give my time and efforts to bless and serve the others? It’s so that I can be a part of the fellowship that I experience and the blessing that I personally have received from it. It’s so that I can grow in Godliness and be an example and shepherd for the younger ones. When I am along God can use me to build the church. “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9.
As the car pulls up to the barn where we will be spending our day, everyone wakes up and rushes inside as quickly as possible to get out of the cold. Faces are still puffy from sleep, and there is a lot of good-natured teasing and laughing. Everyone is in a good mood. I am surrounded by a group of people that I know are taking it the same way I am. It makes for such a good atmosphere, and I am so thankful that I can be a part of it. I don’t want to be one who is just riding along on the bandwagon. I want to be one who gets off and pushes.