I am at Glen Lake Camp this week as a volunteer. Volunteering is different this year. We learned of opportunities to paint, sew, even drag hose around the campus to water trees.
I immediately started trying to think of things I would rather do. I wanted to help, sure, but I really wanted to help on MY terms.
Sometimes we outsiders do have something to offer. More often, I think, we are interested in having the experience of helping than in actually helping. As the evening went on, I committed myself to helping in ways I was asked to help. If there were additional time and space for my ideas, so be it.
As I walked out inro the morning sun Tue next morning, the Executive Director saw me and called out to me, “Steve, I’ve got a job for you!” She handed me a can of wasp spray. “Wasps have been bad this year. Would you take this around and spray whatever you can find?”
Happy to have a job I hadn’t chosen, off I went. I checked every building on the grounds. One camper mentioned wasps under their picnic table, so I checked under the picnic tables.
The next day we received a surprise visit from the health inspector. GLC passed. One of the things he was looking for wasps and wasp nests.
He was impressed to have found none.
We US Christians (or perhaps first-world people in general) too often have a tendency to only want to help on our own terms. We often mean well and have good ideas, but ignoring those we seek to help is insulting and, perhaps, imperialistic.
Would you join me in, when volunteering, considering what is asked of you, rather than what is glamorous or preferred?