With the official kickoff of the next season upon us, I always reflect on my tremendous upbringing and how the time between academic years—known to most as ‘summer vacation’—was handled. For most young people, these next few months are a time of rest and relaxation; a time to turn off the alarm clocks, cease learning and enjoy fun in the sun. I grew up, however, learning that regardless of the time of year all work was a privilege, that every task must be done with excellence, and that every job contained learning experiences which held the seeds to more significant positions. So it didn’t make much sense to take a vacation from that.
There was no sleeping in and hanging out with friends for days on end for me. Summer jobs were expected, even when I entered college. I flipped burgers, handled the cash register, handled customer service in a department store, and worked at the Word of Life summer camp programs where I did everything from waitressing to housekeeping. I even sold books door-to-door for two summers with the Southernwestern Book Company (now Southwestern Advantage). Work is fun if you do it with the right attitude. And we all have a responsibility to earn our way in life to provide for ourselves, give back to our government, and help others in need.
My view of wealth was that it could be used as a ministry to help others who would then create more wealth which would go on to help others. That’s how we collectively make the world a more tremendous place. Hugs and prayers are great, but sometimes someone needs a meal, or a home rebuilt, or education, or a safe space. Our blessings should become others blessings. That is at the root of our company, which is a for-profit entity with a non-profit heart giving over $1M since 2009—thanks to supporters like you.
So while we're on the topic of wealth, let's talk about poverty. One of the main reasons for poverty is laziness. The Bible has some pretty direct terms for the shortage of resources caused by a lack of effort: sluggard, slothful servant, idle, and slack hand. I heard it described beautifully once: people need a hand up, not a handout.
There is much conflicting information swirling about regarding wealth and poverty, when the two are not at odds with one another—especially in this country. Being given everything without work enslaves the individual to a lifetime of entitlement and entrenchment. Having to work for everything liberates the individual to a lifetime of excitement and experience. The choice is up to each one of us, and that ownership cannot be displaced to upbringing or external circumstances. Why? Because we all have greatness in us and it’s up to us to activate it. There are countless folks and resources to help you ignite; if you don’t, that’s on you.