Earlier this month I was feasting my eyes on a vase of snowdrops – valiant little heralds of Spring. Other words came to mind too – beautiful, pure, determined, undaunted, humble and unseen (sometimes). The list could go on.
Snowdrops are among my favourite flowers and I was reminded of the pleasure they have given me in my own garden, on woodland walks and as they have determinedly peeped through the snow in winters down the years.
I began to look in greater depth at those in the vase. In spite of their downward hanging blooms I could see that some were still tightly budded, some half open and others fully open. All were supported by very upright green stems. As I pondered, I felt I was being gently nudged to see the similarities between those little wonders of our Father’s creation and the great team of volunteers (and potential volunteers) that we have at Christ Church.
The buds, half-blooms and full blooms seem to represent a mixture of those who may be new Christians or new to Christ Church and unsure of how to help, those who are limited in the time they can give, often for very valid reasons (poor health, family commitments, work, etc.), those who would love to help but don’t like to push themselves forward and need to be asked and those who know the blessings of being a volunteer and over time have become fully involved.
The green stems – leaders and everyone in the church family – we should be praying for, appreciating, encouraging and nurturing our volunteers, discerning as to when to invite someone to volunteer and be creative and caring in ensuring that our volunteers are not overworked and when they need a well-deserved rest. We need to recognise too that we are all different and gifted in different ways.
Something important – snowdrops bless us with their beauty in the springtime and for all of us there are times (bereavement, ill health, family needs, etc.) across our lives when we need to step back from active volunteering and in a sense go “underground” as the snowdrop bulbs do in other seasons. When I’ve needed to do this, I have been met with understanding and support in countless ways, especially prayer.
So, to all the “snowdrops” in our church family, who are already among our volunteers, a massive “Thank You” and for those still in bud, please give some prayer and thought to helping in some way, however small – an individual snowdrop is essential in adding to the beauty of its companions, whether in a vase or a woodland landscape. Look again at those adjectives in my first paragraph.
My nudge to write in this way came from our Father God – find blessing and encouragement in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12 –
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.” (vv 4-5).
“The body (of Christ) is a unit, though it is made up of many parts.” (v12).
With love in our Lord Jesus, Sylvia Mann
PS – Seek me out if you’d like to hear my country grandmother’s emphatic words on volunteering, when she had become physically frail and was housebound!