Lately I have been pondering motivation. Why do I do what I do? Why do I want to teach? Why do I like to travel? This has led me to think about the bigger issues of our civic life. Paul Sohn writes a blog about Salt and Light. It is in reference to our behavior as ambassadors of Christ. Therefore, what does salt and light mean to me now as I explore the role of Social Entrepreneurship? My meditations this morning reinforce my earlier thoughts on the subject. I think Wesley summarizes my thoughts well. “Make as much as you can, give as much as you can, and save as much as you can.”
As a man of faith I think it is important to work hard. This is a legacy of the early expression of faith in this country. Max Weber calls it the Protestant or Puritan work ethic. This means that a believer is called from a life of sin into a new life with Jesus Christ. The result of this relationship is a giftedness expressed through a vocation. This is the second call. I believe in this. As we pursue our called vocation we work hard because we find fulfillment in our chosen profession. This results in prosperity. We then give away a portion of our prosperity, by choice, to help others.
The willingness to help others is foundational to being a human being. I choose to look at this from a Christian framework. This framework recognizes that God’s moral law affects all, not just the Christian. As the book of Romans tells us, all have a sense of God. All of us know what right and wrong because God has written in upon our hearts. This is His moral law.
I am thinking a two examples of how this “God reality” is being expressed by individuals. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are two of the richest men in the world. Each have promised to give away half of their fortunes. They are also convincing others to do the same. They have kicked off a new era of philanthropy, which has been given the label of philanthrocapitalism. 92 of the richest people in the world have signed on and are willing to give away part of their fortune. Mark Zuckerberg, Mr. Moore (co-founder of Intel), and Mr. Hastings (founder of NetFlixs) have all signed the pledge. There are critics of this process, but for the most part these individuals are demonstrating God’s law written on their hearts. This results in a larger sense of humanity.
Another way this willingness to make a difference is expressed is through acommitment to help people. Sometimes this occurs at the detriment of the person who passionately cares for others. An example of this is Suu Kyi of Myanmar (Burma). Today she will receive an award that was given to her by President Bush in 2008. The Congressional Gold Medal is one of the two highest civilian awards given by the United States. This award is given to the defenders of freedom and liberty.
Suu Kyi has fought hard for a democratic expression in Burma. For years she was in opposition to the leadership of Burma. This resulted in the government putting her under house arrest. She spent two decades “under various forms of house arrest or restricted movement.” She was separated from her husband and children. The Burmese government would not allow her to see her cancer ridden husband who would eventually die. Her personal cost for the freedoms the Burmese are just beginning to explore was high. Yet, she expressed the reality of God’s moral law through this desire to care.
Gates and Suu Kyi operate within very large spheres of influence. They are impacting their world in a positive manner. Each of us also have a sphere of influence. Mine involves a small college and community. God is calling me to make a difference in how we do business. I am a firm believer in Wesley’s thoughts on wealth. When we follow wesley’s axiom, then we are a whole person. Pursuing wealth without care for others means we have cut ourselves off from God’s moral law, or what some would call spirituality.
So, how are you impacting your sphere of influence? How are you making the world a better place?
And that is my thought for the day!