The headline is not hyperbole. I firmly believe God’s world-changing plan is rooted in volunteering. Consider 3 ways volunteering for justice actually changes the world.
1. Volunteering reflects Jesus
Why are you here? Seriously. Why are you on planet Earth in the 21st Century? I believe God looked down the corridor of time and saw you in this time and place. He created you for good works from the very foundation of the world. The Bible says it this way:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph. 2:10.
I believe we were created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). Part of His image is justice (Ps. 50:6). A Biblical view of justice is one that restores. God restores us so we can restore others. We become repairers of broken walls (Isa. 58:12). We stand in the gap on behalf of others (Ezek. 22:30). Just as Christ did for us (Isa. 59:15-16).
Jesus volunteered to leave Heaven, set aside privilege, and intentionally use power to restore people in need of health, sight and freedom from oppression (Lk 4:18-19). His compassion for the least of these drew people to Him. He invites us to do the same.
When we volunteer, we set aside our privilege, our agenda, and our time to serve others. Volunteering is not about us, but about seeing others restored. Whether a food bank, medical clinic, or legal ministry, volunteering reflects the character of Christ.
I believe this is especially true when some of the most powerful in our society – lawyers – willingly set aside that privilege to enter a neighborhood in need and help free people from legal oppression. Let this year be the year you reflect Christ through volunteering. Please consider doing so through legal ministry.
Download our guide, How to have life-changing impact through legal ministry, and plan now to attend our conference Restore 117 on June 7-8 at Judson University.
2. Volunteering changes us
God’s plan is simple. Follow Jesus. Jesus told His disciples to love another as He loved them (Jn. 15:52). He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners – broken, imperfect people – he died for us (Rom. 5:8). He ask us to do the same – to die to ourselves and live for others.
Justice is love in action. True justice is found in Jesus. We don’t demand rights, we set aside our rights in the loving service of others. The less we focus on ourselves and the more we focus on others, the more like Christ we become. The best vehicle for doing this is through volunteering.
Over the years I have consistently heard volunteers say they get more out of serving than they feel they give. That is true. Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). As Peter reminds us, this is in the context of helping the weak.
God’s plan for changing us is that we volunteer for others. Service changes us as we trust God to use us in the loving service of others. As we serve our heart changes. Please listen to one volunteer’s story of how she had a change of heart through serving others.
3. Volunteering impacts others
Volunteering reflects Christ, changes us, and impacts others. That was God’s plan from the moment we sinned and He put into action His plan to rescue and restore us. He recognized we focused too much on ourselves. The Devil planted doubt in God’s goodness and we believed we knew better. We seized control instead of setting control aside and trusting God. The best way to return to Eden is by setting aside our interest in the service of others. God dis this. He sent His son to show us how to be humble servants. Jesus embodied justice. He rescued and restored neighbors in need. He invites us to do the same.
Some really ordinary guys listened. The disciples volunteered to go into all the world teaching others what they had learned. They volunteered to love even those who hated them. They changed the world. God’s amazing plan has always been to use ordinary people to change the world through the sacrificial service of others.
The power of volunteering.
The great power of volunteering is rarely in the grand work people see, but in the small acts of kindness that God sees. This past weekend Hosanna! Lutheran Church sent a team of volunteers to paint our offices. Sherwin Williams donated most of the supplies. Our offices have a fresh look that communicates to our clients we care about them. Every small touch that says they are as important as anyone else makes a difference.
Gospel Justice Initiative believes in “Everyone doing their P.A.R.T.” That is our core value statement reflecting I Cor. 12. PART is an acronym for Professional, Adaptive, Result-Oriented, Team-Player. Whether the attorney volunteering to serve a client or the hospitality volunteer baking goods and providing resources for children of single moms, everyone volunteers to do their part.
This last week we welcomed a new gospel justice center in New Jersey – NJ Legal Help – to our growing family of volunteer teams demonstrating the love of Christ through legal ministry. We are praying to see 49 more neighborhoods reached this year with the help of a lawyer and the hope of the gospel. Will you volunteer to pray for us? Will you volunteer to share the opportunity with others? And please consider volunteering to establish or serve in one of our legal ministries.
You were created to volunteer. And volunteering truly changes the world as we reflect the author of that change.