What was an animal in the ancient biblical culture? An animal helped to get the job done, and without it, the laborer would be seriously hindered in his capability to produce. A fool mistreats his animal out of shortsightedness, not realizing this animal ultimately makes his life easier. Without this animal, the job simply would not get done.
“A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.” Proverbs 12:10
I think that a wise person would treat an advantage-giving tool such as an animal with the greatest care, knowing that the animal’s health ultimately means their long-term prosperity. A wise person would steward his animal well.
Handle Volunteers With Care
Not that I want to equate a beast of burden to a volunteer – yet a correlation can be found. Without volunteers, our burden is heavier. Without volunteers, the job could not get done. Without volunteers, means we do it alone.
Are we having compassion on our volunteers? Do we purposefully seek to see things from their eyes? Do we realize that many of them work a 50 hour/week job, have young children and families, have yard work like the rest of us, and often take on major aspects of our ministry?
Volunteers and the Golden Goose
The parable of the Golden Goose comes to mind. As the parable goes, the farmer goes out and finds a golden egg under his goose. Each day another golden egg is found. Several weeks pass and out of greed, he wants more. Therefore, one morning, he chops off the head of the animal and reaches inside to gather up all of the golden eggs. None were found; the animal dies; this man is considered a fool.
Without nurture, understanding, tenderness, foresight and development, the expectations that we place on volunteers might be the equivalent of spiritual decapitation, reaching inside their souls to find more golden eggs, and thus destroying any long-term hope of true, golden ministry.
A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal. A righteous man has regard for the life of his volunteer. May we steward our volunteers well.