Q I volunteer at my church as well as work and attend to my family. I find that I don’t volunteer out of love but out of duty. Is that how it’s supposed to be?
A In my previous response to this question, published in the February 2010 Banner, I maintained that we volunteer not out of duty but out of love—for we have received grace upon grace. All our Christian endeavors, including volunteer work at church, must spring from joy and gratitude, not duty.
This month I would like to address the busyness of life we all experience in North America. Often many of us feel as though we serve out of duty simply because there is so little time left in our day, right? Every Christian is supposed to make use of his or her time, talents, and treasure for work, family, and church—the fundamental domains of our vocation.
But we trap ourselves into temptation and sin (yes, you heard me right) by neglecting one area for the sake of the others. For example, if I oriented my time, talents, and treasures around my profession in such a way that I had very few resources left for my family and church, you would diagnose me as a workaholic, someone who is neglecting my Christian calling as a husband, father, and church member, wouldn’t you? Friends, that is not the way of Jesus, and his grace and truth will pronounce me a sinner in need of repentance and healing.
So we must examine how we use our time, talents, and treasures. Here are a few practical suggestions:
Sit down with someone you trust—perhaps a spouse or a friend—and assess how you currently allocate your time, talents, and treasures. Are you working too many hours, taking your kids to sports and hobby commitments five nights a week, spending too much time on the computer? Do you share the gifts God gave you with others? Are you a joyful tither?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the principles by which you have been conducting your life. If you are in line with the way of Jesus, thank the Lord and celebrate. If not, repent and ask the Lord to forgive you for mismanaging the resources entrusted to you.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom as you set new boundaries for your time, talents, and treasures. You may be able to become more efficient and effective at work; at home you might need to cut back on Facebook updates and watching TV.
I am confident that the grace and truth of Jesus will accomplish changes in your life that will honor him.
Rev. Victor Ko is pastor of Mosaic House Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta.
Q How and where can a young woman meet a godly man for marriage when there are no male young adults in her congregation and she doesn’t want to feel desperate searching from church to church?
A Your desire for a life partner is normal and understandable. God designed human beings for intimacy. At the same time, like the pursuit of happiness, the more one seeks such a relationship, the more elusive it often becomes. I would suggest that you change your focus from what might exist in the future (being married) to what gives you satisfaction in your life now, as a single woman.
For example, if you feel lonely or bored, begin to explore new interests. Is there a course of study (such as learning a new language or exploring a new hobby) that has always beckoned? If you are an outdoors kind of person, is there a biking, sailing, or skiing club you could join?
Being single and in your mid-20s is also a good stage in your life to explore what your Christian faith means for service. By all means, as part of exploring your faith, visit other churches in your area. Find out where volunteers are needed within your community and resolve to participate. Join one or more Christian singles groups to make new friends and experience a new Christian community where you can talk about your hopes and dreams as a follower of Jesus.
If there is no singles group in your area, consider starting one with the help of one or two friends. Begin by discussing what you would like such a group to be and do, along with where and when you could meet; then advertise as widely as possible to include other Christian churches.
As you focus on your own identity as a Christian and on your own interests, and as you take steps to fill your life with meaningful activities, you will meet and get to know many new people. By all means, pray that God will bring a Christian partner into your life, and stay open and alert to new friendships that may grow into something more. But rather than making it your task to find someone, allow God to bring someone to you—or not—in accordance with God’s good plan for your life.
Judy Cook is a family therapist living in Hamilton, Ontario. She is a member of Meadowlands Fellowship CRC in Ancaster. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. All inquiries will be held in the strictest confidence.