The comment was part of a much longer discussion about church activities that had not gone as anticipated. One person said they thought it could be done differently. Another said, “They are volunteers.”
Forgive me, but that’s not really valid reasoning for a lack of results. God seldom used volunteers. He called people to action, and repeated the call if they declined. Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Jonah – not a volunteer among them. Our Christian churches are to be examples of New Testament churches, built on Christ’s life and His teachings. I don’t recall Him waiting for volunteers, either.
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:18-19 KJV)
True, He was, is and ever will be, perfection. That’s what we are to strive for, that’s what we are work toward. Even when we fail, that’s our goal. Christ wasn’t very gentle when getting Paul’s attention and recruitment, either. And, He was specific when He told Ananias what to do.
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, (Acts 9:11 KJV)
These people didn’t “volunteer,” they were called. They were also taught. I first found that example in the Old Testament.
Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD. (2 Kings 17:27-28 KJV)
Jesus taught His disciples, too.
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (Matthew 5:1-2 KJV)
On the other hand, do not turn away volunteers – Christ didn’t turn away Philip’s friend, Nathanael. Jesus greeted him as an Israelite without guile and Nathanael asked how He knew that. Jesus answered with a comment about a fig tree. Nathanael responded and followed.
Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. (John 1:49 KJV)
We, too, make such an acknowledgement when we accept Christ as our savior and request church membership. We then need training. Titus 2 has directions for all ages of church members.
Look for the programs in your church and truly volunteer where you can best serve. Ask for directions – determine the goals, set standards for the outcome, ask questions of leadership if understanding is lacking or confusion exists, share expertise and grow experience. We need to be as professional in our church service as we are in our work. Sadly, maybe we are.
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; (Romans 12:11 KJV)