You have to read this email I recently received. Crazy, radical, and an amazing story of courage and generosity.
First, let me set the table:
We all love our stuff. All of us. We all consume. We all get sucked into the lifestyle of upward mobility. This is most apparent during the festivities that surround Black Friday, Cyberspace Monday, and Christmas shopping.
This isn’t a guilt trip but to simply state that which is obvious. What I do want to state is the importance of us also growing a culture of generosity in our lives. Generosity isn’t just for others…but also for us:
Generosity isn’t just merely for the sake of blessing OTHERS. Even more so, it’s to rescue US from the abyss of our greed.
Generosity is what keeps the things I own from owning me.
Let me share a crazy story of generosity and a reminder – once more – that you don’t have to be a rock star, a billionaire, or a celebrity to make an impact.
Recently, I received an email from a youth pastor named Joon Park from Florida. I’ve never met him, don’t know him, and never heard of him. In his blog, he describes himself as:
I am a former atheist/agnostic, fifth degree black belt, recovered porn addict, and currently a youth pastor at New Light Church in Tampa, FL. Like every other dude with a laptop, I blog regularly. I can eat five lbs. of steak in one sitting. I have a German shepherd named Rosco.
Joon – after hearing a talk I gave at the 2011 Catalyst Conference - shared that he was convicted by the Holy Spirit and now… was acting upon that conviction. This young youth pastor has decided to donate half of his yearly salary to charity.
Read his email:
Hello Pastor Eugene!
My name is Joon Park. I’m currently a youth pastor of New Light Church in Tampa, FL.
After a friend of mine sent me your Catalyst Lab from 2011, I was convicted to donate half my salary this year to a charity. That would amount to $10,000, which I understand is not large by certain standards, yet hopefully enough to save a handful of lives. I listened to your sermon in the car, then at Sweet Tomatoes (where I felt sick over the affluence of a culture that needs buffets), and by the time I got home, with tear-drenched eyes I knew what I had to do.
I wanted to personally thank you for your message. I checked out your websites and I believe in what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life. Though I haven’t decided where I will donate the money yet, I am seriously considering your One Day’s Wages program.
I am a “nobody” pastor with a 30+ youth group and a blog like every other pastor…Please pray that I may stay encouraged and faithful to my pledge. I’m pretty scared. You are right. We cannot ask of others what we don’t do ourselves.
God bless you, brother. Thank you again!
Wow. How crazy, radical, and counter-cultural is this?
Think about it:
Young. Youth Pastor. Donating half of his salary = $10,000.
What can you do for $10,000?
He could have purchased 20 iPads, or 10 Macbook Airs, or a new car, or lots of sushi, or anything he wanted but instead, he’s chosen to donate all of it to ODW’s Human Trafficking Fund. In addition, he’s also inviting friends, family, and strangers to help him match his $10K donation in hopes of raising and donating a total of $20,000.
How cool is that?
Three things you can do:
- Join Joon and his campaign if you’re inspired by his story of generosity. Donate $5, $10, or whatever and help him match his $10,000 donation.
- Consider what you can do. Seriously. Whatever it is. Any idea for a cause or perhaps, create your own birthday for a cause campaign in the upcoming year.
- Choose to forgo one thing you want to buy and donate that money to your favorite charity.
Don’t Just Count Your Blessings…
Rather than guilt or shame, I really do hope that you’re encouraged and convicted. I’m not suggesting that have to donate half of your salary or your yearly salary. Not at all. Instead, I hope that you’ll take a moment to recognize how blessed you are and to do more than just recognize:
Don’t just count your blessings.
Honor the Lord with your blessings.
Be grateful for your blessings.
Share your blessings.
Be generous with your blessings.
Grow your blessings.
Build a culture of blessings.
Take a moment after you read this to count your blessings and to consider how you can live a life of blessing.
Thank you, Joon, for acting upon your convictions and for inspiring so many of us.