Volunteer refers to a person who does a job without pay. Are you a volunteer parent? A volunteer spouse? A volunteer friend? It sounds odd to pair those terms. Even though there are huge responsibilities, tasks, and work involved in those relationships we serve other people from our love for them. As Jesus followers are we volunteer disciples? I wish I could find better language for church volunteers because I find it inadequate terminology. Serving God, the faith community and our neighbours should be an organic response to the ways Jesus loves and serves us. The intrinsic motivation comes from the privilege to join the mission of hope. There may be no money earned but the rewards are great. Yes, seasons come when we feel discouraged and or invisible. The needs are greater than the energy or time available. Many tasks that maintain our church’s existence happen behind-the-scenes with few aware of the sacrifice of hours or financial costs. Words of recognition and appreciation may be sparse. We can definitely do better in expressing gratitude for the servant hearts among us. Two stories from Jesus’ experience come to mind. One is the healing miracle he performed for ten lepers and only one returned to express thanks (Luke 17:11-19). Jesus knows what it’s like to be taken for granted. Another time Jesus observes a widow giving the only coins she had to the temple offering (Luke 21:1-4). Unnoticed by all others, He ensured her example would be recorded to inspire future believers. Despite the failings of the pastor or church leaders or members to acknowledge your contribution, Jesus sees you and is overjoyed by your dedication. Hear His words speaking over you “You have done a beautiful thing for me” (Mark 14:6). Remember WHY you arrive early to unlock the church, or stay up late preparing crafts for Kids church, or go out of your way to pick up a senior, or set aside a percentage of your income to support ministry or spend your free time in a leadership meeting. When you live out your purpose you will find joy. In service to others, we are doing a beautiful thing to God as well. Even if no one else sees it, God sees it and is pleased. My dear friends, stand firm and don’t be shaken. Always keep busy working for the Lord. You know that everything you do for him is worthwhile, no dollar or hour is wasted, none of it is in vain – 1 Corinthians 15:58.