Working for a non-profit organization can be one of the most rewarding of jobs as well as discouraging at times. I know because I’m employed by one.
Rewards flow abundantly when I witness first-hand how we make a difference in the lives of others. But days of discouragement can also reign when I wonder if we’re truly gaining any ground.
I imagine that most of us who labor in the non-profit world do so not because of any personal gain but because we want to make the world a better place. I know my fellow co-workers diligently strive to make such a change, to follow our passion for righting a wrong, to serve others, and introduce them to a more positive path for life.
When it comes to personality types, some of us non-profit employees are Doers, some of us are Relaters, and some of us are Influencers. We may go about our work in diverse ways, but we have one thing in common. We endeavor to actually accomplish our goals, we don’t just spout rhetoric.
“The world is blessed the most by men who do things, and not by those who merely talk about them.” ~ James Oliver
At times, our efforts seem overwhelming, even futile, and we need re-charged and refreshed to continue our tasks. That’s exactly what occurred a short while ago at my place of employment.
Our Executive Director announced at weekly staff meeting one day that we should arrive at work on a particular Monday attired in comfortable clothes for a Staff Retreat Day. She refused to give us details just reassured us that we would be treated to a surprise. Our organization has undergone several major changes in the last two years, and as change sometimes can prove stressful and challenging, she and our Board of Directors wanted to thank us all for “hanging in there.”
On a crisp, sunny morning we gathered at the office and were whisked off to a lovely country house owned by a friend of our organization. We settled down in her welcoming home and were served our choice of hot tea, special coffees, hot chocolate, or hot apple cider with several types of mini-muffins to munch on and of course, lots of chocolate candy. While we sipped and unwound, a Board of Directors member encouraged us with an inspirational message and prayer. A time of sharing insights about our co-workers’ strengths followed.
Our hostess, who definitely has the gift of hospitality, called us to her dining room where a beautifully decorated table greeted us and we enjoyed a delicious lunch. But our retreat day wasn’t over yet! Another friend of our organization, a professional massage therapist, joined us for our afternoon surprise. Each staff member received a warm soak in a foot spa machine followed by a foot massage, then a back and neck massage, and finally a paraffin wax treatment for our hands.
And as the info-mercials say, “But wait, that’s not all!” Savoring a delectable chocolate dessert and another hot beverage completed our day of pampering. Our hostess with the ‘mostess’ presented us with a parting gift – a beautiful red apple sitting atop a small carton of caramel dip all dressed up in a pretty package. As she randomly passed the treats out to us, she asked us to read a message tied to each one. Somehow, each message, though different, fit each recipient.
I found my message, “You can change the world!” interesting and apt, because that is what I attempt to do with the young people I’m privileged to see in schools….change their perspective, change their behavior, change their futures, change their lives in a positive way, one person at a time.
It’s the 29th page in Chapter 9 in my book of Opportunity today. This book (the year 2011) only has a few more chapters to go, then it will be finished and a new book will begin. So today, I’ve been seriously contemplating that message I received on our day of pampered blessing and how it meshes with my year of opportunity.
I don’t want to be one of those people who just sits around talking about and waiting for the world to change. God planted a desire in me to actively help transform people’s lives, which is exactly what I’ve done the last 10 years at my non-profit job. But lately, I’ve wondered if it was time for me to move on to something else. Now though, I’m sensing that the Lord doesn’t want me to stop just yet.
And I believe God doesn’t want me to stop sharing my faith journey with my readers. Daniel 2:20-22 says: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him.”
Only He can make a real change in me and you. All we have to do is ask Him. And then He equips us to go out and really change the world.