The Joy Of Giving Without Receiving

The late great coach Bobby Dodd delighted to tell of his playing days at Tennessee. He said he tried for the longest to get his granddad to come to a game. Finally he did. Before the game even started a bunch of pretty young girls came out in short skirts and started jumping up and down yelling, “Volunteers.”

He said his granddad got up and went down to volunteer for what ever it was they wanted them for.

The spirit of volunteerism is a vital part of our culture. My wife has served as a volunteer at WelStar Hospital for well over 25 years. For her it is fulfilling and rewarding. I admire her discipline and devotion to the service.

Recently an amazed employee asked over and over, “You mean you do this and don’t get paid for it?” Working for pay is an essential and admirable. However, the idea of working without pay can’t be comprehended by some. To such persons what you get out of work is money. To a volunteer the reward is intrinsic. You can’t put a monetary value on it.
Persons have to work for pay in order to make a living. A good work ethic combined with a job well done for which a person is compensated is fulfilling.

However, doing something additionally and expecting nothing in return is very satisfying and gratifying. It’s an upper. I have a couple of such outlets and work as hard at them as for a salary.

I was fortunate in that I worked for 32 years without knowing what my compensation was. My employer related to my wife and the compensation went through her competent hands. I did that because I wanted to be able to do what I did for the joy of doing it and not for what I got for doing it. That is not for everyone but being able to do it made working all the more rewarding.

The last year for which statics were available it was reported that 93 million Americans rendered volunteer service to their community. They gave an average of 4.2 hours per week. That totaled 20.3 billion hours of formal and informal volunteer service. Based on the minimum wage that was $201 billion.

What can’t be measured is the good done in impacting lives.

Many organizations could not operate without volunteers. The human resource base enables services to be performed that otherwise could not be. Churches, hospitals, and many other institutions benefit form the spirit of wonderful volunteers. Not only on behalf of these organizations do I want to make this unsolicited appeal for volunteers but also for the welfare of those who might volunteer. It is more blessed to give than to receive. We all know what a blessing it is to receive. The statement doesn’t imply it isn’t good to receive. Knowing how good it is to receive and being aware it is more fulfilling to give should motivate us to want to try giving of ourselves.

Albert Sweitzer said, “The only ones among us who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

There is a line from a spiritual song that sums up this principle: “It is in giving that we receive.”

Find a need and volunteer to help meet it.