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.