In Richard Stearns’ own words, here is the crux of the argument he is making: “There is a hole in our gospel and that, as a result, we have embraced a view of our faith that is far too tame. We have, in fact, reduced the gospel to a mere transaction involving the right beliefs rather than seeing in it the power to change the world.”
It goes to the heart of our worldview. It should make us think about what the full scope of our ministry within our workplace means. And it hits hard at how we treat the poor in our community and around the world.
By the time I was done, I walked away with three questions that Richard Stearn challenged me with:
- Are you willing to be open to God’s will for your life?
- What breaks my heart?
- Can I make a difference?
Richard Stearns opens with an autobiography of his faith decision and a brutally honest account of how he went from CEO of Lennox to President of World Vision. My thought here was the first question, and had me asking if I was open to God calling me out of business to something else, or to use my business in a way to help others (another excellent resource on this topic is Glocalization by Bob Roberts Jr.). This is the key tie to ministry in the marketplace, whether we are a CEO or a sanitation engineer.
He spent a good part of the book outlining statistics of the problem of poverty around the world. Having just spent a month in India, this section resonated with me as I could put faces and names to some of the statistics he presented. If we read it as Richard Stearn presents it, the second question should help us ask the second question. We should be praying as Bob Pierce prayed: “Let my heart be broken with the things that break God’s heart.”
That should drive us to do something – anything – different. Go – visit a church in the inner city, visit a homeless shelter, do a short-term missions trip to a poor area of your country, or travel across the world. Put a face to the issue. Your prayers come alive, your money is freed – your heart is broken.
We can easily become overwhelmed with the size of the problem, and that brings up the last question of “Can I make a difference?” He uses the starfish story and tells several God-sized stories of his own, of how a single person changed a life. Now imagine if all of the people in churches around America stopped asking the question and just did something…the impact would be tremendous. Ask friends in your church – your community of believers – “What can I do when joined with other Christians in a church community?”
Bob Pierce said “Don’t fail to do something just because you can’t do everything.”
So what are you doing? What do you sense God calling you to do? Share your thoughts in the comments below, turn off the computer, and go do it!
*Note: I was provided a copy of this book to review by Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Booksneeze review program.