My email inbox is notorious for housing second-hand articles from my colleagues about new technology, philanthropy, trends in new media, or nonprofit stories -- my typical work-related interests. But last week, several work friends sent me the UGA Sports Blog article, "Mark Richt sells Lake Hartwell property."
When I first started reading it, I was thinking that my colleagues who sent me this must think I'm an avid Georgia sports fan, even though I went to college in California, and have never even visited Georgia (nor do I keep up with college football). My short attention span had just about given up on the article when I read this paragraph about half way down:
“Within the last year, I read this book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” written by Richard Stearns. He’s the president of World Vision U.S. I think people understand who World Vision is but, basically, they help the poor. Through their organization, you can help children, you can help build wells, you can buy them donkeys, whatever people need. World Vision helps people across the world. Well, anyway, there was a lot of statistical data in there about the amount of people that live on a dollar a day around this world. Billions of people. So I’m reading this book and it really affected me. It helped me realize that what we have is way more than we need and that our ability to give is hindered by this property. I guess that’s the best way to tell you. We just wanted to be in a better position to give and bless people that don’t have anything. We felt like this was one way to be able to do that.”
Mark's story about selling his home is unique, but it isn't an isolated example. We hear from people every week -- teachers, lawyers, recording artists, entrepreneurs, bloggers, stay-at-home moms, pastors, and now, a university football coach -- via email, Facebook, and Twitter about how Rich Stearns' book changed their perspective on the world's poor and our biblical mandate to help.
I also got word last week from Rich Stearns, who was in Zambia at the time this article was published. "You never know how God is going to work in someone's life," he said. "Coach Richt called my office a few months ago, and we chatted for some time. He told me that he had read my book and was considering how he might respond. This is wonderful news."
If you haven't had the privilege of reading "The Hole In Our Gospel" yourself, maybe Mark Richt's story is just the inspiration you need. I would agree with his endorsement: “I’d challenge anybody to read this book and not be affected by it."