Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.
- Rabbi Harold S. Kushner
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
I recently attended a special service at Oasis Church in Los Angeles called Night of Generosity that forever changed me.
The service was filled with amazing worship, extraordinary musical performances by the talented Anthony Evans and Amanda Brown, and excellent preaching by Jordan Wagner–all of which brought me to one question: How will I make a difference in this world? I’ve been challenged to do that before but never in such a powerful, tangible way.
Specifically, this night was about a project called Generosity Water, which was founded by Oasis Church Senior Pastor Phillip Wagner. One day he was reading the newspaper and came across a story about Sub-Saharan Africa, and was shocked to learn that almost a billion people were living without access to clean water.
As he wrote, “I’ve spent my whole life trying to help people around me. Our church serves our local community in Los Angeles and has always been passionate about meeting the needs of people around the world. After learning that the lack of water kills 3.6 million people per year–more than war and AIDS combined–I knew I had to help.”
He gathered donations from friends, family and church to help build a well in a Malawai village, then created a bottled water that donates 100% of profits to building more wells. Within a year, sales of Generosity Water had topped $40,000 and funded two projects in Uganda.
Since then, Generosity Water has built 550 wells in 19 countries, helping more than 325,000 people. What an impact! But here’s what really touched me: It all started with one guy, Phillip Wagner, and his desire to make a difference. He saw a need and responded with, “I have to help. What can I do?” Thousands of others who read the same article that morning might have also been surprised and even affected emotionally when they learned that limited access to clean drinking water, insufficient sanitation and poor hygiene kill more people than wars, famine and AIDS combined–about 3.6 million annually. But all those people didn’t act. They thought, Oh well. That’s too bad. Hopefully somebody will help those people who don’t have any clean water.
Phillip Wagner decided to be that somebody, and with the help of thousands of others who have joined is making a difference in the world. You see, real change starts with ordinary people doing their part. I want to be one of those difference makers, don’t you?
As a video of children smiling and splashing in clean water rolled in the background, Amanda Brown belted out:
“I just want them to know/That I gave my all, did my best/Brought someone to happiness/Left this world a little better just because I was here.”
Let’s live out those lyrics today. Whether you choose to get involved with Generosity Water, volunteer at your local homeless shelter, distribute food to shut-ins in or perform any other good deed for those in need, let’s be difference makers. Let’s leave this world a little better just because we were here.
Photo credit: @generositywater
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, with more than 60 books and 1,000 articles for newspapers and magazines to her name. She was won several SELAH Awards (best children’s book and book of the year for God Knows You in 2014 and best children’s book for My Big Book of Prayers in 2012), and her book Divine Stories of the Yahweh Sisterhood was named a Family Christian Bookstores Premiere Pick in 2006. When not working on her own assignments, Michelle ghostwrites books for celebrities and some of today’s most effective and popular ministers.
Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff. They have two college-aged daughters, Abby and Allyson, as well as a small petting zoo. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys cheering on the Indiana University Men’s Basketball team, the Chicago Cubbies and the LA Kings. Find out more about Michelle at her website.