Recently, a non-profit organization that helps adults with special needs find places to volunteer contacted our food bank co-ordinator, Linda. She recognized an opportunity and agreed to be a host site. Many of these adults are slightly withdrawn and can take a while to warm up to new people and places.
Anthony was one such young man. He is naturally shy. Because of his disability, he doesn't welcome change easily and experiences a great deal of anxiety. His first day at The Salvation Army happened to be Bill's regular volunteer day at the food bank. Imagine this shy, quiet young man meeting a big, gregarious individual. You'd think he would run away, but he didn't.
By the end of the first day, Anthony and Bill were good friends. Bill took him under his wing and showed him how to pack food boxes, clean the floors and greet clients. Bill became Anthony's mentor as they worked side-by-side each week, sharing breaks, taking out the trash and laughing together in the hallways.
Now, when Anthony comes to volunteer, he always looks for Bill. He wants to work right there beside him, to emulate him. Anthony feels comfortable there. He feels safe. He feels accepted.
We need more Bills in our corps. People who make a difference. People who have a passion to serve God wherever he has placed us. People who preach the love of Christ without ever standing in a pulpit.
We sing wonderful battle songs that encourage us to “fill the world with glory,” and these are great. But sometimes we can't see the trees for the forest. We miss the little things that can make a difference in the lives of people in front of us. We are so busy looking out there when we can make an impact right here.
We are called to practical holiness, for our lives to reflect Christ. Bill became the reflection of Christ that Anthony needed. His life was his sermon.
There are many stories like this waiting to be told, many lives that can be impacted for the better because of what you do next. We can make a difference, and it starts with practical holiness.
Captain Scott Strissel is the corps officer at Evansville Corps and Community Center in Indiana. He is an active blogger and contributor for the purpose of encouraging and challenging the Salvation Army world. Read his blog at pastorsponderings.org.