"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy.'
Nothing amazes me more than the beauty of God working through people with pure hearts, creative minds and the courage to put both to action. And since I started working with Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation, it seems like I come across these people all the time.
Five Talents International is an Anglican initiative which is committed to combating poverty in the developing world by:
* Equipping the poor with small business training and small loan programs * Equipping the church with the tools to help the poor in small business * Showing Christ's love and mercy in thought, word and deed * Affirming human dignity
In short, it is an amazingly effective way on a small scale to help people help themselves. One of the other amazing people who astound me, Becca Stevens of Magdalene House, calls what she does "changing the world one life at a time." That would apply to 5T's work as well.
And what I also love is the name ... because Five Talents is really what it's all about. Like the Biblical story -- it's all about what you do with what you're given.
But the really amazing thing you find when you start looking around is that there are countless people who are doing things like this. People whose hearts have been moved and minds have been engaged by God's call to help those in need -- and have found in so doing that they are getting the life they need as well.
I got an email today from a professor at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA about one of her students (I'll publish the name once I have her permission). She wrote:
"She's a senior this year at Westmont College, back on campus after spending a semester studying with the Houghton in Tanzania Program. She kept us updated on both the beauty and the grinding poverty she saw while she was in Tanzania, and came home committed to keeping up a dialogue between these two parts of her world.
One thing that nagged at her is how bright children were passing the rigorous state exams for grade school, but their families couldn't afford the $40 in expenses to keep them in school for the next year. She knew that she was back on a campus of 1200 students, where everyone can afford a dollar for something. So, she's sitting in front of the dining commons this week, challenging students (and faculty and staff along with them) to give her one dollar.
She has great faith, and she's convinced that by the end of the week, she'll have enough money to mail off to her contact in Tanzania so that he can help 30 children enroll in school for the year. I've seen her faith at work, and I won't be surprised if there's enough there for many more than 30 children when she is done."
It's a perfect five talents story. A story of what you can do with what you've been given if you just let your heart and mind run free.
And the most amazing thing is that the story is right. When we use what we have to create more for others, we share in God's joy. It's such a simple equation, it's a wonder everyone isn't doing it.
EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.
Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.
"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."