It was probably 10 years ago, maybe more. I was praying and the Lord impressed on me that I was not using my administrative gift, the gift He had given me, for anything but to make money. I would rent my gift out to whomever wanted to pay, and the term 'hired gun' kept running through my mind. The conclusion was clear: I was not using my gift to help the poor. I was going in and out of Africa at that time, and I thought doing good work - when I got paid, I made sure my my clients got their money's worth. But I was not giving my gift away in a manner that was pleasing to God, so some changes were in order.
That encounter with the Lord was instrumental in taking my position at the church where I am now, for it is an urban congregation that is devoted to making a difference among the urban residents and poor of the North Side of my home town. I saw that as a good place for my gift to be 'used.'
But the main impact was in Africa, specifically Kenya, where I began to create and administrate projects that would impact the poor there, without being condescending or paternal. I wanted to use my gift to help, but also to equip the poor to help themselves. The result has been a host of new programs that I trust will make a difference now and when I am gone from the scene (you can see those programs listed here).
There is a verse in Proverbs that urges you to share your food with the poor: "The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor" (22:9). I take a broader view of the food mentioned there than just physical sustenance. It is whatever you have that can feed and nourish others in body, soul or spirit.
Are you hoarding your gift? Are you using it at your place of employment and maybe even your church, but not allowing it, whatever the IT is, to impact those who have little or nothing? I urge you this holiday season (it is Thanksgiving in the United States) as the year closes to search your heart and take stock of your life, and then do what you must to make changes that will alter the time and effort you devote to the cause of the poor, whether in your country or another.
MATCHING GRANT: Last week I was pleased to announced that my ministry had received a $2,500 matching grant to be used as I saw fit. The deadline for this grant is this coming Saturday, November 30. That means that the donor will match all other contributions that come in by Saturday, up to $2,500. So far $710 has come in, so we have a ways to go and five days in which to do it. Please give today using this special Paypal link or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.
FACEBOOK: When you get a chance, please go to FaceBook and 'like' my PurposeQuest International ministry page @PurposeQuestInternational.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING: Here's wishing a happy holiday to all my American and wanna-be American friends. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and don't forget to be thankful.