By Mark Hopper
In the 1990’s, I led a small team of adults from our church in California to Guatemala. We were going there to help with the construction of a school near Guatemala City. My wife and I had led a younger team of high school and college students to Guatemala in the 1970’s. This time we went with a seasoned group of older adults.
Guatemala is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Several dormant volcanoes tower over the countryside. The vegetation is lush and green. Guatemala is known for its popular coffee beans and wonderful Avocadoes.
While we were working on the construction site we met a man who was doing electrical work. He was a retired engineer who had come by himself at his own expense to pull wires and install electrical outlets in the classrooms. He was planning to be there for a month
I don’t remember his name but I do remember something he said. When I asked him why he had come to Guatemala to work on this project he replied, “You can only play so much golf”. He went on to explain that when he retired from his career as an electrical engineer he spent a lot of time playing golf with some of his buddies. But after a year of retirement he felt he needed to do something more with his time. When he heard about the project in Guatemala, he decided to put his golf clubs in the closet and spend some time helping other people.
Please don’t misunderstand. I like golf. In fact, my wife says I don’t play enough golf. But I think we all know that there are other things that are more important. We may get a sense of enjoyment from a good round of golf. But we can get an even greater sense of fulfillment when we use our time and talents to serve others.
There is a passage in the Bible that says, “Put yourself aside and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with your own interests. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 2:4 – The Message Bible). You won’t find lasting fulfillment just doing things that you like. Real fulfillment is found when we volunteer our time and use our abilities to help others. You won’t find happiness looking for it. You stumble across it when you serve others. Let me encourage you to volunteer some of your time to serve at your church or in your community. Don’t sit home and watch TV. Get off the couch and get into the community and help people. And allow yourself a little time for a round of golf with your buddies too! You will be glad you did!
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