God Created Us for Good Works, Says Griffith Littlehale
Volunteering is part of a Christian lifestyle, says University of Toledo student Griffith Littlehale, a St. Francis de Sales High School graduate, a committed Christian, and an avid volunteer.
The Bible says that God created humans to do good works. Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” So even before God made people, he planned for them to serve each other, says Littlehale.
Volunteering is also an essential responsibility of Christians for other reasons.
God Blesses Our Giving
The Bible also says in Acts, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Jesus told his followers that those who give to others will receive blessings. The author of the Biblical book Proverbs also assigns benefits to those who give. Proverbs 11:25 reads: “A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water.”
“Volunteering blesses me because I know I am helping someone who needs it. I can see Jesus in those I help, and seeing Jesus in this way helps my own faith,” says Griffith Littlehale, who volunteers in homeless shelters. “Jesus was often found helping those on the margins of society.”
Volunteers can also develop relationships with those they help. Littlehale says these relationships can enrich the lives of both the volunteer and the recipient.
God Gives Talents for Use in Helping Others
God gave each person unique gifts and talents, says Littlehale. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”
“The talents are given for use in helping our community. They aren’t given just so we can help ourselves or boast about having a particular gift,” says Littlehale. “The more gifts and talents we have, the more God expects us to use them,” he says.
Jesus Set An Example
The Gospels portray Jesus as constantly serving others, says Littlehale.
“He healed people and taught them. He told them that the two greatest commandments were about the love of God and the love of each other. And, he told parables about stopping whatever we are doing to help others in need.”
Indeed, a significant theme of the Bible is that God closely identifies with those who are poor or suffering.
Christians bear the name of Christ. They must follow His teachings and example to live up to that name. They should help those they like and have been taught to dislike. They must be willing to put their love of God and others ahead of their own desires to achieve,” says Littlehale.
Volunteering Helps Develop Gifts
Charitable work often creates a safe space to develop gifts and talents, says Littlehale. For example, God may have given an individual the gift of administration. Organizing a food drive is an excellent way to practice that gift. Or, God may have given someone the gift of teaching, which they developed by teaching a group of refugees English as a Second Language.
Sometimes people learn about gifts they never knew they had through volunteering. “Volunteering stretches me and helps me grow. It also develops a side of me that doesn’t come out in other aspects of my daily life as a psychology student,” says Littlehale. “I’ve learned a lot about myself through volunteering.”
Volunteering Builds Self-Esteem
Volunteering helps us feel good about ourselves, Griffith Littlehale says.
“When we are doing what God asks us to do, we become more completely what God created us to be. We realize how wonderfully made we are and how God created us and declared us ‘good’,” he says. He adds that he can see how he has grown in love and compassion through his work with people experiencing homelessness. That growth makes him feel good about himself.
Volunteering Provides a Glimpse of the Future
The Bible talks frequently about the Kingdom of Heaven and an eternal future with God. The Kingdom of Heaven is all about love and service to others, and it begins here, says Littlehale.
“When we volunteer, we get a glimpse of our future with Jesus in a place full of love and compassion,” he says.