"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:35
What do you want to be known for? What kind of legacy will you leave behind?
As Jesus' followers, we have a calling that is distinctive from any other in all the earth: to bring glory to God with all aspects of our lives.
This past weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to witness the 33rd Annual Harvest of Talents for World Hunger event hosted by Lincoln Christian Church (LCC), IL.
I watched as hundreds of church and community members came together with the love of Christ, donating thousands of hand-crafted items, delicious foods, and talented services to be sold to raise money for feeding programs around the world through IDES. This year, LCC broke their previous record by raising $110,654.10! Thousands of children and adults will be blessed with nutritious food because of their faithful efforts.
LCC's legacy is one of radical generosity. It is clear that they want to be known for the glory that they have faithfully brought to the Lord year after year by serving the "least of these."
Some Brief History: In the Fall of 1983, Pat Snyder, a member of LCC, felt conviction in her heart after hearing the preacher's comments on the extreme hunger needs throughout the world. Pat decided that she was going to do whatever she could to help those who were hungry. So, she challenged her own family and her church family to consider how God had specifically gifted them, and how those gifts and talents may be marketed for the purpose of raising funds to feed the hungry worldwide.
Now 33 years later, the Harvest of Talents for World Hunger program has expanded to several different churches that regularly host events around the country each Autumn. Cumulatively, the Harvest events have raised a total of just over $3 million--100% of which has been given through IDES directly supporting feeding programs throughout the world in India, Myanmar, Philippines, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Zimbabwe, El Salvador, Brazil, Haiti, Syria, Dominican Republic, Togo, Honduras, Mozambique, Ghana, Thailand, Romania, Egypt, Israel, and Russia.
Pat Snyder and the rest of the Lincoln Christian Church family are all regular people just like you and me. There's nothing extraordinary about them, other than the fact that they take Jesus' call very seriously. If we were to ask any one of them to share their "secret" to being radically generous, I imagine they would each humbly point us to verse in 1 Peter 4:10 that says, "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace."
God has given us each unique abilities, talents, creative interests, and skill sets. As adults, we build the vast majority of our identity around these very things--they determine our career paths, our hobbies, our communities, and the ways we spend our time. Jesus calls us to use these things in order to bring Him glory to utmost. But oftentimes, we use them to establish our own glory through personal wealth, social status, and reputation upkeep.
What if we each took the call of Christ as seriously as the folks from LCC do? Each of us has something to offer back to the Lord. And what if we didn't stop at just offering it? What if we stewarded it as Peter calls us in the verse above, using our abilities to their full potential in acts of radical generosity?
Maybe, just maybe, we could change the world.
"Father in Heaven, transform our hearts to be as generous as Jesus Christ's. May our eyes and our ears be attentive to the cries of the hungry and the hurting around the world. May we use the unique abilities You have blessed each of us with to generously give back for the building of Your Kingdom. May we take radical leaps of faith and obedience to Jesus as You graciously offer us the opportunities to participate in Your redeeming purposes in the world. In Christ's precious name we pray, Amen."
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director @ IDES
Want to find out more about how to get involved with the Harvest of Talents program?
Call us at 317-773-4111 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.