7 Bible Verses for Those Who Volunteer

Scripture to energize and encourage those in whatever service they give.

Posted in , Nov 12, 2020

Prayers for volunteers

I volunteer at our church’s soup kitchen and food pantry. In these hard times the needs have more than doubled. We used to serve some 140 hot meals and a bag of food every Saturday. Now it’s over 300. Essential help for our neighbors. But it can be draining for us.

The other day I found myself dishing out cod, mashed potatoes and vegetables into 150 little boxes. After two hours on my feet, I was worn out. Then it occurred to me, “Pray, Rick. Pray for the person who is going to get this meal.”

We’re not meant to give on our own. We can do it with the Spirit’s help. Here are some Bible verses to help with whatever service you give. They helped me.  

1)  Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. (Ecclesiastes 11:1)

One Saturday when I was passing along a bag of food at the church’s gate. “This is my first time,” one woman said apologetically, almost in tears. “I lost my job. I’ve never done this before.”

I was so glad to be able to reassure her that we were happy to help. No shame. We would look forward to seeing her again and again. As long as she needed us. No questions asked.

2)  If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. (Isaiah 58:10)

When you give, you get back. Many a time I’ve dragged myself to the Saturday Kitchen, feeling listless and run down.

And yet, why did I feel so much better afterward (even if I was exhausted)? Volunteering—serving—gives us a sense of purpose. Like Isaiah says, your gloom becomes as the noonday sun. 

3)  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)

I would hardly call myself a peacemaker. Truth to tell, there is a lot more impatience and irritation going on inside me than I ever dare admit. Doing for others is a way to side with inner peace.

4)  …And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

I remember the time at the soup kitchen, before the pandemic when we were serving all our hot meals inside. One lady asked me for a second cup of coffee. “Sure,” I said as pleasantly as I could. I was a lot less pleasant when she spilled that cup a second and third time.

“Why are you making such a mess?!” I exclaimed. “I’m sorry,” she said. I looked in her eyes and realized that I couldn’t begin to conceive of how difficult her life was compared to mine. This was my brief chance to embrace, like Jesus said, that servant side of me.

5)  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

I can’t begin to count the number of people who have borne me up when I needed help, support, encouragement, a pat on the back, a nudge in the ribs. A nice reminder here from the Apostle Paul—this isn’t just nice behavior; it’s how we follow Jesus.

6)  Whoever gives to the poor will not want… (Proverbs 28:27)

This goes against my internal logic. “I’d better save a lot of money,” I tell myself, “so I have something to give.” This passage of Scripture says the opposite. Those who give to the poor do not want.

7)  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34)

Love is not just a feeling. Love is doing. Our actions speak so much louder than words. Whatever it is that you can do—even if it’s just writing an encouraging letter—is a way of being God’s people.

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