I am often asked why people should volunteer. Time is pressed and the demands for our attention come from every direction. How is it possible to add one more commitment to an already packed schedule? The answer is easy. It is biblical to volunteer – it’s what Jesus commands all of us to do.
When asked, “Who is my neighbor,” Jesus answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Remember the story from Luke 10:25-37 that we all learned in Sunday school?
A man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho was beaten and robbed by a band of thieves. The thieves left him for dead beside the road. When a priest and Levite saw the man, they crossed the road and passed by on the other side. But when the Samaritan saw the man, his heart was filled with tenderness and compassion. The Samaritan ministered to the man, bandaging and caring for his wounds. The Samaritan then sat the man on his horse until they reached an inn, where the Samaritan cared for the man overnight. The next morning, the Samaritan paid the innkeeper to continue caring for the man. (I think it’s significant that it was only after the Samaritan had invested his time and poured himself into caring for the man that he also invested his treasure.)
When He finished the parable, Jesus asked which of the three – the priest, the Levite or the Samaritan – was a neighbor to the wounded man. Of course, it was the Samaritan. He was the only one who demonstrated love, compassion and mercy toward a stranger who had been hurt and beaten down by life. Then Jesus commanded, “Go and do likewise.”
Here at Star of Hope, our clients often have deep, gaping emotional wounds. Some wounds are caused by circumstance; other times, they are a consequence of bad choices and poor decisions. Regardless, the homeless men, women and children who come through our doors are hurting and they are our neighbors – yours and mine.
What a beautiful example of love, obedience and grace we see in every Star of Hope volunteer! Like the Samaritan, each volunteer ministers to those who are broken and hurt. Whether serving meals, hosting donation drives, teaching classes, painting family apartments or doing one of a million other jobs, our volunteers reach out in love to help our homeless neighbors. When asked why they volunteer, the answer is easy – it’s what Jesus commands us to do.