By Jolly Mokorosi
It is winter in the southern hemisphere of our planet and much to the surprise of many people from more northern and western countries it gets cold. In fact it gets bitterly cold in some places, well below freezing. In Johannesburg, like much of Southern Africa, it is not unusual to hear of the homeless freezing to death. Street children are often the most ill prepared for these conditions and therefore the first victims. One would understand the rationale behind the CEO SleepOut. Not to mention Nelson Mandela International Day on the 18th of July. These events seek to point out the plight of the less privileged amongst us and trumpet a call to action as individuals, organisations and even nations. This is especially so in the case in International Mandela Day that calls all to 67 minutes of doing good on the 18th of July annually.
I don’t live too far from a children’s home and around the corner from a children’s house of safety and baby haven. This year the children’s home was flooded by those wanting to do their bit for 67 minutes on Nelson Mandela International Day. It would have been easy to join in by dropping of a packet of diapers or some other much needed essential item, take a selfie, post to our organisation’s very public social media platforms and tick the mental ‘done’ box (whilst secretly crossing fingers that our clients and industry at large would notice).
But the Holy Spirit spoke to me about a number of things that stopped me dead in my tracks:
- “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)
- It is tempting to jump onto the bandwagon and want to be seen to be ‘doing your part’ but does this event make us famous and extinguish our thirst for going good as per God’s standard or will this point to God and therefore we will be refreshed to do more?
- Do we use our nonprofit and charity work to increase our own profiles or those of the organisations we support in a bid to use our credibility to give these organisations traction and credibility?
- Do we care about these nonprofits or the people that we interact with enough to go back again and again or will we forget about them once we have ticked the ‘charity done’ box?
- Is this cheerfully giving of what the Lord has blessed us with or another marketing exercise?
- Are we obedient to God or do we seek to keep up appearances?
I was compelled to ask the Lord what would you have me do? This year the answer was, “Nothing…….For now. Giving is a lifestyle not an event. Go back when the crowds have left, go back without the cameras and give all year round.”
Understandably these mega events, charity days and even the occasional humanitarian crisis, and the publicity they bring, can present an opportunity to draw others who would not ordinarily engage with Christ towards Christ. In addition when they are done well these events resource much needed work that happens during the course of the year. I know this because I have sat on charity boards that depend on these periods and worked operationally in others too.
I am fortunate that I can seek the Lord and then make these kinds of decisions on behalf of my business. Next year we will seek the Lord again for what He will have us do but this year we have learnt this:
- God’s standards are always different from that of the world and it is easy to fall in with what everyone else is doing.
- If we seek celebrity status over extending our hands to our needy brothers and sisters then we have already received our reward.
- Our new standard for giving means we seek God first, know His heart and ensure it is a lifestyle not an event.
- We pray that we shall not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
How is God leading you to do business/career according to His standards?