Many people think that when they come to the Dream Center to serve, the environment is going to be tough, tired, worn down, and a bunch of volunteers acting like martyrs because they are forced to serve God and give their lives to the poor. They are shocked to see that it’s the opposite. Everyone is as happy as a child at Disneyland for the first time. Sure, dealing with broken hearted people who are in rehab, or working with a homeless family day to day has its challenges. Sure. We win some and lose some but we don’t feel like we are the only ones who care about people we feel that everyone cares, the world cares.
You see, WE GET to serve. We don’t teach, preach, serve, or write about helping the poor as if we are God’s special people because we are in it from day to day. We celebrate serving! Whether people come for a day, week, or an hour we have a better chance of reaching our world with the message “Everyone cares” versus the idea that we are horrible, selfish Americans. How is that tired message going to change our hearts? People do care! We just need to present them with a compelling cause to get them on board. We need to inspire a generation to serve not crush them to their knees with guilt trips. Paul was even praising the Lord while they were sharpening the axe that was made for his head. He would become a martyr but you never would have known it the way he rejoiced in what God allowed him to do every day. We talk so much about the sacrifice of the apostles but not about the joy they had while sacrificing.
Personally, if God tells me to write a check for $50,000, I’ll do it with joy. If God tells me to sell my house I’ll do it with joy. I know many of you would too. I rebel all day long against any teaching that tries to make serving a depressing component of the gospel. Maturity in Christ is when you say, “I don’t have to give, I get to give.” A life of serving is fun, joyful, life changing, and certainly the kind of life that requires joy and a smile while doing it. It sure would be awesome if we started preaching on serving as a joy and not an obligation. The world doesn’t just want to see our generosity for the poor but a smile on our face as we do it. Often, the smile has more value than the gift. Please don’t feel sorry for me, or anyone who loves to serve, because just like they sang at the end of Dirty Dancing “I’ve had the time of my life.”