The Difference of One

March 01, 2016

The Difference of One

We recently returned from a week in the sunny south. Without getting into all the details, let’s just say it was one of the worst trips we’ve experienced. It all began with a 9 hour delay in Toronto to having our room changed at the resort three times in less than 24 hours.

What compounded the problem, was the virtual lack of caring by the resort staff. Can't say that I've ever seen that degree of apathy and carelessness before. It was disheartening to say the least. What did make the trip somewhat salvageable, besides the beautiful beaches and sunshine, were a couple of workers who distinctly stood out from everyone else.

One was a travel representative who went out of his way to correct the seemingly endless failures delivered by the resort and the airline. He was only filling in for the day but when the regular person arrived back at work, we were once again introduced to another level of frustration.

The second person that stood out was our room maid. In the midst of a workforce that seemed more intent on doing the minimum, she was a budding artist who used our room as a canvas for her creativity.

Coming back at the end of each day became an adventure of discovery. What did she leave for us today? Beyond the towels and blankets that were recreated into flying doves or merging hearts, she took the time to pick flowers from around the resort and used them to accent her various creations.

It was an added flourish and a stark contrast to what we were experiencing from the rest of the resort staff. It was evident that she took pride in her work. On a number of occasions she came by to apologize for the shortness of some supply that was a result of the resort not having enough.

It almost seemed an affront to her that the resort itself was not keeping up to her own expectations, let alone those of the people it claimed to serve. I wondered what it was that motivated her to be so thoughtful in her work. She could easily have allowed her environment, as well as the standards of the resort itself to frustrate her into not giving her best.

I dare suspect that it likely would be less stressful, not to impose such lofty expectations on herself. Despite it all though, she worked to her full potential. As a pastor, I know the value of a staff member or a volunteer who goes above and beyond to serve the church. Especially those whose ethic is a motivation to serve the Lord wholeheartedly. Not for validation or reward, but simply because it is the right thing to do.

Some may argue that our room maid gets a pay check and her share of tips, but the same could be said for the myriad of other workers we encountered that performed far below her standard. What motivates you in your role? Whether staff or volunteer, do you seek to do the tasks assigned to you with excellence. If not, why not?

In my next post I want to delve into the motivation for volunteering, taken out of the Book of Daniel, because we all know the difference committed volunteers can make. In preparation for the next post, here are some questions to help prime the pump.

  1. Do you volunteer because you feel guilty?
  2. Do you volunteer because you have been forced or coerced?
  3. Do you volunteer because you feel you are doing the pastor a favour?
  4. Do you volunteer because you have to satisfy a school quota or similar?
  5. Do you volunteer because you feel its the responsible thing to do?
  6. Do you volunteer because it energizes you in making a difference?
  7. Do you volunteer because you love the people you get to work with?
  8. Do you volunteer because it makes you feel like your contributing?
  9. Do you volunteer because because you are serving the Lord?



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