Step Thirty Six

Step Thirty Five
August 7, 2015
Step Thirty Seven
August 9, 2015

volunteer

Happened across Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (more random stuff on Facebook that probably isn’t random at all!), and it dawned on me that, well, we might have a problem.

In Matthew 6, we’re warned to watch our motives. You know, don’t donate money so you can be known as generous… don’t pray so others will think you’re Godly… that sort of thing. And yet, here is this blog, invoking God, Jesus and the Bible like I’m some kind of expert, all the while talking about, well, me.

I’m not even sure how to discuss this without, um, you know. But it’s important, so I’m gonna try.

Once upon a time, I was a go-to volunteer for just about any civic cause. I served on boards of directors. I signed my name to all sorts of charitable activities. I was the local newspaper publisher – a celebrity of sorts – and being civic-minded was good for business. It also got me invited to parties.

Over time, I started doing boards and charities and whatever-have-yous because I believed that my actual presence mattered, that I was the man with the plan, I was the catalyst that would make whatever needed to happen happen. (In my defense, this often was the case.)

But the math changed.

Instead of a business quid to my volunteering pro quo, I was, in effect, collecting IOUs.

So I changed tactics. I still accepted the occasional board position, and I still signed on to whatever committee needed an extra hand, but I stopped with the making nice. I figured, I’m here to do a job, not make friends, and certainly not trade charity for favors.

After that approach blew up spectacularly in my face, I took a few years off. No coaching little league. No teaching Sunday School. No volunteering. Honestly, I didn’t write many checks, either.  I just wanted to get it all out of my system. I needed a charity enema.

When I finally did ease back into charitable work, it was through my office. We wrote a few checks, did a little pro bono consulting, stuff like that. Over time, I found myself helping out here and there. You know, carrying a box of decorations from the back of the van into the ballroom. Or running through the drive-thru and picking up shakes for the kids. Stuff like that. And then some.

Someone needs a ride, I offer. Someone needs the pickup, it’s available.

You see why it’s hard to discuss this – how can I explain without the irony of big flashy lighted signs that read “SEE HOW GODLY  AND SPIRITUAL HE IS?!” Sheesh.

So here’s the bottom line. These days, if I’m there, it’s to help out, period. The less that’s in it for me, the better. I’m just the guy in the back, an extra set of hands.

Want irony? I’ve never been more fulfilled than when filling somebody else’s need. Go figure.

Jeff Peyton
Jeff Peyton
Don’t be fooled by Jeff Peyton's accomplishments in communications, crisis and business management. He also wing-walked on an airplane at 700 feet, co-piloted the Goodyear Blimp and swam with sharks - and still managed to obtain paperwork officially declaring him “legally sane.” Really.

1 Comment

  1. Mom says:

    AND THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT……
    When you do good deeds to help someone or something, it’s a personal fulfillment – not a “scratch my back” thing. So if you feel someone or something needs a helping hand, then, by all means, lend your service. The receivers are always most appreciative of any assistance given in their time of need.
    THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT……SO KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
    As Always,
    xoxoxox
    Mom

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