"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, "Here I am. Send me!"
-- Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)
My desire to volunteer started when I was a young girl.
If the teacher asked for someone to erase the blackboard or fold papers after school, my hand skyrocketed upward as my heart cried, "Pick me!"
Oftentimes, my mother would ask me to run an errand to the grocery store or deliver something to my aunt who lived around the corner. I felt a warmth inside each time I was able to meet a need.
Many of you can relate to the same situations when the spirit to volunteer started to motivate you to serve in some special way.
Even the biblical prophet Isaiah caught the passion to volunteer when God was looking for someone to go forth and speak to the people of Israel regarding his plan for them.
Volunteers bring relief, provide support and offer assistance to someone. It may require a step of courage as you take a risk and do something you've never done before or go somewhere you've never been.
A friend of mine has volunteered to go on a mission trip to another country. She had to think about health and safety risks involved, but the passion to help another won over her own comfort.
Although some volunteers travel far, many people volunteer in their own churches, communities, schools and neighborhoods. Many achieve this by taking a sick friend to a doctor's visit; baking cookies for the school bake sale; working at the local pantry; or serving food to the less fortunate.
One year when I was ill, my friend came over and put up my Christmas tree so I could still enjoy the sights of Christmas. I heard of someone who made extras for dinner so she could share them with her recently widowed neighbor.
The creative ways we volunteer our time and talents are endless, and so are the blessings they bring. As the holiday season approaches, it's good to take time and pray and ask God how you can be used to volunteer your services.
I believe some of the joy we experience in life's journey happens when we volunteer.
• Annettee Budzban is a Christian author, speaker, life coach and nurse. She can be contacted by email at Annetteebudzban@aol.com or P.O. Box 532, Grayslake, IL 60030. Annettee is available to speak to group meetings or events.