Several years ago, while contemplating the idea of leaving my successful corporate career to pursuit a life of service in the mission field / non-profit business sector, I found myself running into the same circular argument over and over again: Do I want to help others because it makes me feel good, or do I help others because they simply need help (and it’s what God called us all to do – Love your neighbor)? Was I wanting to do the right thing, for the wrong reason?
If I wanted to serve others because it made me feel good, then my motivation was of selfish ambition and personal gain, and though my actions may be different, my purpose remains self-focused. Wanting to do the right thing for the “right” reasons was incredibly important to me… So the motivation behind my desire to serve others remained it question. Unfortunately, I couldn’t separate the benefits I received from the help I was providing others and thus couldn’t positively state that my motivation was truly selfless. If anything, it was a 50 / 50 split (selfless vs. selfish) and this made me feel guilty.
Then, one morning I was awoke suddenly… Starring at the ceiling, the answer I was looking for entered my mind as though God was speaking directly to me: “Of course it feels good to help other people! It’s supposed to feel good! I designed you that way! The Greatest Commandement is to Love your neighbor as yourself! It’s not ‘despite’ yourself or ‘instead of’ yourself, it’s ‘AS’ yourself! Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF! Love yourself, love yourself, love yourself and then go and love everyone else just the same.”
And just like that, the guilt washed away and my decision to leave corporate was made.
Over the past few years since making that decision, I quit my job and became a full-time volunteer / international missionary, and I have been on an adventure of sacrificing my time, my money, my possessions, my pride, my titles, my positions, and anything else that can be used to benefit others. Just recently, I returned to the incoming earning workforce and been faced with the decision of tithing. In the Bible, it clearly states that you are to give 10% of you income back to God (charity / church). And if that wasn’t hard enough, God laid it on my heart (through the words of Francis Chan), that though 10% was good, we could definitely do better… For to “love others AS yourself” (the “as” means “as much as” or “equally”), 10% just doesn’t make sense, especially not from a mathematical perspective. From a mathematical perspective, “equally” means half for me, half for my neighbor, 50 / 50.
I know many of you might not think it is possible for the average person to give 50% of their income to charity, but I believe that all things are possible with God. And so begins Project 50 / 50. I doubt it will happen overnight, but I believe that if one financially commits to the goal of The Greatest Commandment and strives to give away 50% of their income, God will continue to provide abundantly as He always has.
“Every thousand mile journey begins with one step.” Here’s to step one!