Time for a Culture Change: Are You Ready?
- Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold . . .
Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this. - 2 Corinthians 3:12; 4:1-2 NLT
My eyes were fixed on the faces of my two sons, their eyes huge with wonder. Trent and Troy were getting their first look at the magnificent Mount Rushmore. I drank in this perfect scene — my boys, ages nine and eleven, struck speechless by the immense white sculpted mountains honoring four of our nation’s great presidents. I had been anticipating this moment mile after mile, and now my heart swelled with gratitude — gratitude for these two young men God had entrusted to Jean and me, gratitude for this great country, and gratitude to the God who had given me this moment.
My wife, Jean, and I had spent months planning this vacation and had driven our fifth wheel from Colorado Springs to the famed but desolate outpost in the scenic Black Hills of South Dakota. Even though I absolutely love my role at Focus, it was great after a particularly tough spring to finally get away from the rigorous office routine and reconnect with the boys at the start of their summer vacation. I had my smartphone in my pocket; I had made a conscious decision to stay away from work and had asked my assistant to refrain from calling me except for dire emergencies.
I moved from studying the faces of my sons to studying the faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln, contrasted against the crystal-clear blue sky that called my eyes heavenward.
And then my phone rang.
I looked down and recognized the number. It was the office calling, but given the remoteness of our location, the signal was weak. I attempted to answer it, only to quickly lose the call. After repeated attempts at reconnecting, I found a tiny spot where the phone held a signal. I had to almost stand on one leg and lean to one side in order to hear the caller. The news was disheartening.
Several months earlier, our Focus on the Family team had planned an event with TOMS. This corporation was founded on a novel concept: for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, the company donates a pair to a needy child. When I first heard about what they were doing, I was intrigued. “The goal isn’t how much money you make but how much you help people,” founder and CEO Blake Mycoskie told the New York Times in 2009. Impressive, I thought. I’d love to learn more.
Blake’s concept sparked an idea at Focus. We arranged to host a special event to bring attention to the work that Blake and his colleagues were doing. I believed that his story would inspire other Chris tians to act on their faith and help others in need. We wanted to highlight the great work of TOMS and tell our friends how they could join the mission of putting shoes on the feet of impoverished kids. We envisioned the possibility of giving away as many as a half million shoes through the program.
The night finally arrived, and I interviewed Blake in front of an audience of more than fifteen hundred guests on a summer evening in Southern California. As we left California, we were humbled by the success of the event and excited to see the response to the broadcast, which had yet to air across our radio network.
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