What Will Your Obituary Say?
A couple of weeks ago, a few of us had lunch with the incredible president of World Vision and author of The Hole In Our Gospel, Richard Stearns. I can tell you that he impresses me! Not only is he a talented and intelligent man, but his heart for the suffering is out of this world. If you haven’t read his book, I highly suggest it.
As I began to read the book, a huge concern was weighing on me. Was God going to call me somewhere else as a result of reading this book? I even asked Richard if people often tell him they were worried his book would make them feel called serve. He said…no. I guess I was alone in that. But he did say that people who’ve read it tend to find a greater purpose in their own lives.
Once I got over myself and read the book, I discovered that my understanding of world poverty was immensely small. That the things I take for granted every day are the things that can save lives. Take water for instance; in an interview Richard said, “They don’t say water is important to life, water is life.” About a third of the children in water-deprived areas of Africa die because there is no clean water. Most children can’t go to school in those areas because they have to leave home and search for drinkable water every day. He also said that if we woke up tomorrow and didn’t have water, our entire lives would become a quest to find it just so we could live another day. And yet, I let it run to get warm so I can wash my hands.
Page by page, my heart broke for those whose lives are held captive by circumstance. I’m not talking about the person who won’t get out of his recliner and go to work. I mean people who don’t have options. And since I’m called to educate people from the place that God has me, the question became, “What can I do to help change the lives of those who are on a quest to find water just so they can live while I enjoy my decaf short vanilla latte 140 degrees?” Well, one way is to give! So I do. Lots!
But I also realized that I am in a position to change lives every day. That I’m a part of something that causes others to change their family trees, and hopefully, get to a point that they can do the same for others. That I educate businesses to solve their problems and grow. And if they are profitable, and if they have a heart for doing more than just taking money home, they too can help those without.
So the question to you, leader or owner – or basically anyone reading this, is what can you do to help those without? Do you just make widgets and sell them? Or do you have a higher purpose? If so, what can you do with your calling to make a difference? Frederick Buechner wrote, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Are you there? If not, what does it take to get you there?
So what does any of this have to do with the title? One last thing Richard said at lunch, “You can’t write your own obituary, but you can live the one someone will write someday.” Go live it!
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