I Keep My Eyes Open and My Ear to the Ground
By Mike Stickler
I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger.
In 2006, I had the privilege of working with a Texan with a Texas-sized passion for Jesus and a significant business portfolio. This man was known to give his life philanthropically—in North Texas and across the world. More than that, he would lend his relationships to causes of Christ and encourage many others to be generous ambassadors.
And boy, his relationship network was deep and significant. It seemed that everywhere you turned, you would find his fingerprints, his friends, or his staff, making a difference in lives of the poor and downtrodden. He truly is a father to the needy.
Later on, when we interviewed him for our magazine, Generous Living, we asked what his secret was—how he selected the ministries he would support, and better yet, those he would not?
His answer was, in a typical charming Texas way, “I keep my eyes open and my ear to the ground.” He elaborated in that he keeps himself active in his church, not as a leader; but as a servant. He loves to travel on mission trips to share the gospel and get his hands dirty wherever they are needed. He gave me the distinct impression that you couldn’t understand the need until you felt and saw the need—first hand. And then the decisions to support with significant resources became easy.
Isn’t that what we do as a father or mother with our children? Being a parent is on-the-job, hands-on training. We change diapers, wipe noses, we hold the little ones when frightened or upset. And as they begin to grow and mature, we get change, too, becoming involved in different ways with their emerging growth and maturity. All the while, the goal is to help them become the best adult they can be.
I believe that’s how God has called us to be involved with the needy.
Generally, I reject the idea of the government doing this work through taxes or via sanitized involvement with the needy through just writing a check, as fulfilling God’s call. Such is equivalent to sending our kids to some faraway boarding school and simply making sure the tuition is paid. Somehow the enriching experience of being a parent is lost.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Is the idea of being a ‘parent to the needy’ new to you? If so, how does it change the priorities of your life? Please list five ways you can be involved in the lives of those that are less fortunate than you. Be creative. How will you implement these five ways to be involved?
Write down what God shows you here.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.