Volunteers expect to connect with clients and listen intently to the outpouring of hearts. Maybe they'll even change a life or two in their first months on the job. Basically, people want to make a difference. That's why they volunteer.
They are surprised to learn though, that helping struggling people is not the Norman Rockwell experience they'd imagined.
Behind the scenes, it looks like cooking meals at home and delivering them to the church.
It's folding clothes and organizing boxes.
It's quietly stitching blankets in one's own livingroom.
On the front line, meeting with struggling people, serving looks like sipping coffee and talking about hockey.
It's giving food and clothes and sometimes receiving no eye contact or gratitude in return.
It's saying 'No, I'm sorry, we can't do that'
It's handing out shampoo and grocery bags and brochures.
It's not all sizzle and drama. Sure, there are moments off huffy confrontation here and there, or tearful gratitude over a life changed. But mostly it's normal, daily tasks - folding, serving coffee, handing shampoo.
Does serving make a difference then?
Let me first ask you - who has made the most impact in your life, and how?
I'd bet money that the people who touched your life the most did so with something small.
It was quiet - hardly recognizable even - yet it changed you.
One thing that impacted me hugely was my distant aunt's birthday cards. We never saw each other, but she always sent a card. And in the card she always wrote that she was praying for me. I kept those cards. More and more I recognize her investment in my life. It was quiet, anonymous, and underappreciated in those years, but she continued.
Decades later I would see how her prayers contributed to my protection and also my return to Christ.
That's how change happens. One moment, one deed, one person at a time.
In the quiet, the small, the unnoticeable there is great power to make an eternal difference.
Even in such things as packing boxes
and cooking soup.
Thank you to every one of our precious volunteers who serve in the quiet.
Keep sowing! The harvest is coming.