As I write this, perhaps 40 folks from my congregation are busy handling the giant yard sale we hold once a year in our fellowship hall. I just came from there. I will soon return to help out more. It is a bee hive of activity but what really stands out to me are how these many different folks are united for one purpose. The call to service yielded a host of folks who unpacked dirty, dusty boxes of junk, who hauled in furniture and heavy pieces only to haul them back out when they were sold, who will soon clean up and package the leftovers for the Salvation Army, and who will then celebrate perhaps $4-5,000 raised for a noble purpose within the parish. It is amazing to me how service pulls together and unites disparate people.
The power of service is that it brings together so many diverse people, it joins them in a cause greater than self or self-interest, and it multiplies the benefits in so many different ways. It occurs to me that so many of these things have become big budget. I see churches who send mission teams overseas and I know the kind of budgets required to pay for transportation, lodging, food, and the like. In the end some of these service opportunities are beyond the affordability of many. But many service opportunities require no investment except time, energy, and a willing heart. And oh what rewards such servant projects offer.
I wish we did more of them -- from Habitat to FUEL (a food program for children in our local schools) to a ramp built or folks taken to doctor's offices or food markets... these are wonderful currency of love in which we invest a little for great reward (sometimes to ourselves, always to others) and for a sense of noble purpose larger than our own needs or wants.
It is just a yard sale but the rewards it reaps cannot be measured simply in money. These opportunities to serve are profound vehicles for the unity and purpose that often escapes us when we look at things only in terms of what we get out of them...