Slightly weird Thought for the Day experience today. As part of the 'Right up your Street' series, where BBC Radio Bristol focuses on a different part of the region for a week, I was asked to go to the Parish Wharf Leisure Centre in Portishead. On arrival it became apparent that nothing was set up so Tim, the reporter in charge, asked me to make a recording using his iPad. This I did. Nothing was ready by the time my slot arrived so the recording was played rather than me doing it live or inter-acting with the presenter in the studio (an encounter for which, given that it surprised me last time I was outside broadcasting, I had prepared by arriving early and thinking of things to say about the surrounding area. So at the time I would normally be delivering I was in the car driving home and I heard myself on the radio.
Today's key story was about the possibility of offering volunteers a Council tax rebate:
My late father was in the RAF. He told stories about war, avoiding the death and destruction and sticking to comedy, as many of his generation did.
On one occasion a senior officer came into the mess and announced, 'We're a bit short-staffed in the kitchen so we need some volunteers to peel potatoes.' Then, pointing, he added 'You, you and you. Off you go.'
In the RAF you had a job to do. Obey orders. The joke was the officer's use of the term 'volunteer'. Yet my Dad wasn't called up. He volunteered.
What is a volunteer? In the middle of the Commonwealth games we recall London 2012 and the brilliant job of the games makers. All volunteers.
I had to volunteer to be a vicar but then had to have that calling tested by older, wiser Christians. Now I get paid. Isn't that - a job?
Jesus once sent his disciples ahead of him. He gave them a vision for the harvest of changed lives but he offered no wage, or tax rebate. He described the work as being like lambs amongst wolves.
I applaud ideas that encourage more community involvement. Too many people keep themselves to themselves and see that as a desirable quality. And also the generous treatment of all who have served above and beyond the call of duty.
St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote a great prayer:
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.