The word leverage literally means influence or power used to achieve a desired result. In the financial terms, leverage has to do with taking the access you have to means, i.e. money to capitalize and create much greater return on investment. This idea of leverage is not a new one, and has had many negative connotations to it over the years because of how closely manipulation can be added to this idea. I’d love to explore this in a much different light today though because I do believe leverage could also be used positively and in light of our Christian faith, we could even use it in a spiritual context.
Missions and mission work have always been important to me. My dad has travelled for practically my entire life as a missionary evangelist, and I was privileged to travel with him here in the US and in Australia as I was growing up. The traditional model of missions was precisely just that, either you had a traveling evangelist, or you had missionaries who uprooted their lives in the US and moved to foreign nations to live life among the indigenous people and to share Christ’s love with them. As an adult, I have observed a shift in the way that missions is being accomplished in our world today. Today there is a definite trend to the occupational missionary meaning that a trade or a skill is being utilized on missions fields to allow missionaries to access previously closed countries. I find this so exciting! From teachers of English as a Secondary Language, to manufacturing water filters, raising livestock, and growing agricultural crops all are playing a part in the platforms that our current mission projects around the world are currently doing.
For many years, we as a family have personally supported ministry efforts here and abroad. But for sometime now, I have felt a greater pull to do something even more. Our pastor has often said from the pulpit that we need to figure out ways to leverage our lives for the Kingdom, and so we have been working on doing just that. Some days it feels like not much is going on and other days I get to see just how God is using the little we have and can do to bless others.
Take for example a return from a short term mission trip in 2012 and how the Lord worked in us to do some new things. One of the first things that we did when we returned was to decide support one of the girls in the Dominican individually to take care of her needs for a year. The girls had started a coffee business in 2008 called Cool Chicks Coffee - and they were just 7 and 10 when we got going. Their small business is mostly word of mouth and sales from our website. We decided that maybe we could set up a way to bring along some other people who would like to be a help to girls who needed it, by supplying a monthly subscription service, with all the profits going to support one girl at the New Hope girls home. This started in January 2013. While this endeavor has never been fully funded, we have always maintained this and we have had several generous backers over the years who have never wavered in their support of both the coffee business and the girls in the Dominican.
Still even with this I thought what more can be done…there must be something more. How can we leverage something that we already do to make a difference for the Kingdom. Well in the Dominican Republic coffee is a big deal. The like it strong, and hot and fresh! So the next idea we had was create a blend of coffee and call it New Hope and sell those bags completely with all sales going to the girls home. We sent samples back and forth to the Dominican, letting those in charge taste the varieties and add their own thoughts and taste desires to the mix. Later that year the New Hope blend was born, and bags of New Hope blend coffee have been sold here in the US and abroad benefitting the girls there at New Hope.
It has been a blessing over the last few years to be able to send out large orders for sales at local conferences and meetings and this month has been no exception. We sent out a large package with 20 bags in it just last week and they sold out. So they re-ordered this week for 3 times as much trusting that once again they will sell out this next weekend. So that’s what we’ve been doing this week. Working to coordinate the orders, get the coffee labeled and get it sent out to be in the right place at the right time with 100% of the coffee sales going to benefit New Hope.
My challenge for you is this - what do you already do, that you could find a way to leverage for His Kingdom? Maybe you’ve not thought about it before, but I’ve got several instances where this thinking is making an impact on what I do each day. I am always thinking and asking what more can I do and asking God to reveal it to me. It’s exciting to see how God uses our time and talents and yes even our businesses for His purposes…what could He be ready for you to do?