Volunteering for God

By Dick Duerksen

In Matthew 25, Jesus challenges us to think about how we treat other people, especially those who are in prison, hungry, naked, sick, and lonely. When issuing this challenge, He told the parable of the sheep and the goats, emphasizing that how we treat others will be the key deciding point in the judgment.

He’s planning, it seems, on a heavenly population of volunteers – people who feed the hungry, clothe the homeless, and otherwise pour the hurting and helpless full of God’s Love. He’s looking for followers who love as He loves – fully and without expectations.

I found numerous volunteers who might fill that role a couple weeks ago while I was visiting PACS (Portland Adventist Community Services). PACS has more than 70 volunteers, and each one has a story of how Christ is leading them to a life driven by His love. Here are just three of those volunteers....

Larry – Fourteen years in a truck Larry's been a volunteer for Portland Adventist Community Services for 14 years. He gets up every morning at 5:00, boards the MAX, and then walks the last few blocks to PACS. His job is to ride in the truck that travels around the city to Trader Joe's, Target, Walmart, and other local businesses that support PACS. They say that even the trucks feel lonely when Larry's not along.

"Once I wore a size 67 coat," Larry says, "but then I chose to follow my doc's advice, change my diet, exercise on my bicycle, and volunteer to help others. Now I'm healthy and happy! The people here at PACS? I really like them. They’re my family!" Marie – 100 years old last month Many things about Marie make her special, but on Monday, March 21, the volunteers of PACS joined her in celebrating her 100th birthday.

Two days a week Marie drives from her home in Boring and spends four or more hours behind a table piled high with clothes. Her job is to price the donated garments. This month she celebrates another landmark moment, completing 4,500 hours as a happy PACS volunteer. “This is the best part of my life,” Marie says with her hundred-year smile.

Robin – from law enforcement to love "I love every minute of Volunteering at PACS. The other volunteers are wonderful people to work beside, and each of them has become a special friend. I worked in law enforcement for 37 years, and didn’t do a lot of 'giving'.” Now, everyday when I come in, I know that I’m helping many other people. I don’t know who they are, and that doesn’t really matter. I'm just giving back every day! And lovin’ it!"