In the days of the early church, opportunities presented themselves to the brethren to serve and to be an active part of the church. How do you think some of them responded?
We do not have a listing of how every Christian responded to those opportunities, but we do have a record of how some responded. In Acts 4, there was a need in the church among some brethren “who lacked” the basic necessities for living (4:33). There was no command from the church leadership for members to step up, but many of them did on their own. They saw an opportunity to help those who “had need,” and many brethren jumped at the opportunity (4:34-36). In this circumstance, certain Christians “volunteered” to serve. They did not have to be “voluntold” or “voluntwisted” to serve. They eagerly and willingly stepped up on their own.
However, two chapters later, there were certain members of the church (i.e., widows) who were being “neglected” (6:1). As in chapter 4, there were those “who lacked” and “had need,” but on this occasion, no one “volunteered” and stepped forward to serve. Thus, men were selected from among the church (6:2-6) and “voluntold” to “serve” and to take care of this need in the church.
In which classification would you identify yourself? Maybe even more pertinent, in which classification would the leaders of your congregation identify you?
Volunteered: There are some Christians that do not wait for opportunities to be presented; rather, they are seeking them out or asking the leadership where they can be used. Other Christians will hear the leadership is looking for help in certain areas, and they will eagerly and willingly (and immediately) step forward and “volunteer.” Is that you?
Voluntold: There are some Christians who are not seeking opportunities to serve, not asking, and are not particularly listening for opportunities, but when they are approached and asked to help with a certain project, they will accept and do what is requested. Is that you?
Voluntwisted: There are some Christians who are not seeking, not asking and not listening for opportunities to serve in the church, and in fact, they will give all sorts of reasons why they cannot help when they are asked. To get them involved in some work of the church, they have to be voluntwisted into doing it. Is that you?
In which of these three categories do you fall? More importantly, in which of these three categories would God identify you? He calls upon us to be “always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). Is that you?