Volunteering is a wonderful thing. It is when you give your time toward something you deem worthwhile. It may be some charitable organizations or a simple visit to someone in the hospital or shut-in at home. While it may be organized, it must be freely given. You can't say you are volunteering when you are acting against your will.
Psalm 110 is a Messianic one about the promised Savior Jesus Christ. It begins with familiar line quoted by Peter in Acts 2:35. It speaks of the power and place of Christ in authority next to the Father. It speaks of His eternal priesthood, and His judgment on men.
In the midst of this psalm of Christ, there is a curious line. "Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments…" (110:3). That is about us, Christian! Why would such a statement be made in a psalm that speaks of the glory of the promised king?
Because they are volunteers. Under the Old Covenant, subjects—the Jews—were born under the rule of their King. They were His people by birth, whether they wanted to be or not. Not so under the new king, David wrote. Those who called themselves His people would do so "freely"—not because of obligation, but because of devotion. Christians are people who have been inundated by the goodness, grace, power, love and mercy of the Father through our King Jesus Christ. We are people who have come to know our own depravities and need for something not found in ourselves—and we see all we need in the child born in Bethlehem. We hear all He has to offer us, and we are moved by His compassion. As a result, we come as volunteers, not as people forced. We come thinking of what we can now give, not working for salvation. We come because we think Him to be a noble pursuit, not, ultimately, for what we will gain.
"Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power…" When is this "day of your power"? Well, it may be when the church was established in Acts 2—that was certainly a day of power. Or, it may be a description of the whole "church age." But, I tend to think it refers to the day when we come to have our sins removed and avail ourselves of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That is the day we come and acknowledge Christ as our Lord. It is a day where the power of Christ is displayed to us is a very real and personal way. It is the day we volunteer for His army.
One final thing: As volunteers, we are to wear "holy garments." We don't come to God as we are with the intent of staying as we are. We come to Him as we are with the intent of becoming as He wants us to be—and that is holy. You may think of someone who freely agrees to serve at a wedding. Though they are volunteering, they must wear what is appropriate. So it is with our offering of ourselves; we come to give Him free service, but we do so on His terms. His term is a holy life—one that seeks to remain free from sin. How do we do this? Paul put it best in Romans 12:1-2, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
It brings His honor when we come to Him not because we must, but because we love. It brings Him honor when we reject sin and put on purity, not because we must, but because we adore. Our King is worthy of nothing less from those who say they want to volunteer in His service. As we think about His great place in the plan of the Father, let us revel in our role and live to honor Him.