by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
Ten years ago my family moved to Tennessee, which carries the motto, “The Volunteer State.” The University of Tennessee’s athletic teams are the Volunteers, a moniker carried with incredible pride.
Most historians agree the nickname comes from a call for militia to fight in the Mexican-American War from U.S. President James K. Polk, a Tennessean. As the war ramped up in 1846, Polk asked for 2,600 men from across the country to join the battle. Stunningly, 30,000 fellow Tennesseans heeded Polk’s request and enlisted. Hence, “The Volunteer State.”
The story of the Volunteer State makes for an interesting history lesson, certainly. But this makes me think as we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week, what does it mean to be a true volunteer, a state of being incredibly valuable to God? In short, what is The State of a Volunteer?
When we choose to volunteer, we truly do enter a new state of being. It changes those around us, but it also changes us.
In the State of a Volunteer, we understand our battle is not against flesh and blood, “but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).”
In the State of a Volunteer, we stand before God as servants, willing to step forward when called upon even when the stakes are high, even when the odds are against us.
In the State of a Volunteer, we place our trust in God, knowing He is not moved by what we might see, knowing He can work in any situation.
In the State of a Volunteer, we are confident that God chooses to work through anyone who says, “Here am I, send me.”
In the State of a Volunteer, the words, “It can’t be done” are replaced by “I’ll give it my best.”
In the State of a Volunteer, a natural desire to be recognized is replaced by a passion to serve.
In the State of a Volunteer, “It’s not my job” is replaced by “How can I help?”
We celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week because when we volunteer, the entire world better understands the meaning behind the words, “Set your minds on the things above.” The State of a Volunteer is focused on the eternal—on the truly valuable.
This week—and every week—take heart. God sees the volunteer . . . and smiles.