I run. OK, so it's more of a jog. I started running because all the medical community suggests that a healthy lifestyle includes at least 3 periods of cardio-vascular workout per week. I choose running. It doesn't require a gym membership or fancy outfits; just a good pair of shoes. I can do it anywhere.
On Thursday mornings, I frequently jog from my house to Eagle's Landing for the men's breakfast and bible discussion. Sometimes it's dark, sometimes cold and maybe wet. It's uphill on uneven ground and the cars are always driving too fast. So why do it? I do it for the challenge… and because I can. After recently explaining this to the men attending the breakfast, my 85 year old friend Charlie leaned over and said "just keep doing it as long as you can." So, there it is. Very simple. I do because I can.
I have been given much. I was born in a time of relative peace in the world because of the sacrifice of previous generations. I was given a healthy body, a strong mind and the opportunity to succeed at whatever I chose to pursue.
But, for many people in this world, such opportunity doesn't come so easily. I have been given much so what is expected of me?
I like a challenge. Typically, the things that are most worthwhile are hard to accomplish. It would be easier to drive my car to the mens breakfast but I wouldn't get that cardio-vascular benefit.
In Luke 12:13-21, Jesus tells us the story of a successful farmer who says to himself "Take life easy; Eat, drink and be merry." And God calls the man "a fool!" and his life is taken from him. Jesus concludes with “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
What do we do with this? It's OK to have wealth, be self-sufficient and have a comfortable retirement. But we also must be mindful that our success is also a gift. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded."
So, aren't there plenty of easier ways to give back; to do God's work? Why go a place where the culture is unfamiliar, it's hard to get to and you can't speak the language? I like a challenge.
I'm a big fan of Bill & Melinda Gates. They have teamed up with Warren Buffet and chosen to take on a few really big problems in the world. About this, Warren Buffet gave this piece of advice about philanthropy: “Don’t just go for safe projects,” he said. “Take on the really tough problems.”
When called to help people in a remote part of Haiti, we knew it would be tough. We knew there would be a great chance that we may fail. But we also knew God had a plan for us. We partnered with a social justice organization in Boston and a Farmer's Co-op in Haiti. We challenged the Haitian people. If you want a school for your children, you design it, you build and you run it. Let us know how we can help. We further challenged them by telling them that we'll help them get the school going but we're not going fund it forever. You have to figure out how to keep it going after we're gone.
None of us had ever built a school before. It's hard. We may still fail. But we live in the knowledge that we are doing what Jesus instructed us to do. "… be rich toward God."
We must do what we can as long as we can. It's hard. But it's worth it.
- reflection by C. Calia