Surrendering the American Dream: One Year Later

One year ago today, I posted this blog.

If you want to save yourself a click and a few minutes, here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

It was a story about two people who didn’t grow up with much. One was the son of a farmhand and a bus driver (spoiler alert: me), the other the daughter of a single mom (my wife). It was a story of not having much but not really knowing it. It was a story of growing up, getting educated, and earning an honest living. It was a story of making ends meet, then making enough to do more than meet your needs. It was a story of making enough to waste a lot, and it was a story of realizing you make too much to not give more away. It was my story; it was my wife’s story.

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A little over three years ago my family and I moved to Texas.  The house my wife and I bought had four bedrooms, two and a half baths, two living spaces, two areas to eat in, two living rooms, and a two car garage. It was a typical Texas house. I was 30. My wife was 28. We had two kids. Our fence wasn’t white and picket, but other than that, it was a big old slice of Americana. We were living the life.

Then a crazy thing happened on our way to the American dream:

We read the Bible. And some other stuff. And visited another country. And realized we were filthy stinking rich.

There are over 2 billion people in the world who live on two bucks a day or less. My salary puts me in the .09% of the richest people on the planet and in the top 7 million richest people overall. You can find out where you rank here.

We knew we needed to do something. So we sold our house and got a rental. We’re now giving more money away. We started a nonprofit designed to leverage wealth to fund Kingdom work. So far, we’ve raised about $25,000 for four projects in India and the Dominican Republic, and we’re just getting going.

Sure, our lives shrank by about 1400 square feet. Sure, our extra dining space, our extra bathroom, and our extra living room disappeared. But we haven’t missed them. Not even once.

A year has passed since we first started since the beginning of this story, and we’ve had zero regrets. We sold our house, gave away about half our stuff, and moved into a home that is still gigantic by global standards. That was our conviction, and it may not be yours. But just because you aren’t called or convicted to do that thing doesn’t mean you’re not called to do something.

My wife and I are (imperfectly) figuring out how to be more generous and willing to share, to not put our hope in wealth, and to put our hope in God instead (1 Timothy 6). We know He provides for our enjoyment, and we really enjoy giving.

A year ago I told you a story. My story.

But the best part of it was it was just the beginning of a new story–our story. You can join with us by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page and sign up to give a monthly donation. As our donor base grows and we raise more and more funds, we can make more and more difference. The 25 Group is about:

  • Real People (no celebrities have gotten behind us just yet)
  • Real Generosity (loosening our grip on what we once held tightly)
  • Real Transformation (funding solutions for those most marginalized)

I would love to invite you into our new story. It’s just beginning. In another year I’ll have an even better tale to tell. It will be a story of community, of sacrifice, of something substantial and beautiful being born out of a commitment to do something more. To agree that when Jesus said to minister to the least of these, He meant it.

To surrender all our dreams–one by one–for the good of those who need us to and for the glory of Jesus.

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Photo Credits: Stock Images & Simple Give / The 25 Group

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