During my teenage years I had the opportunity to go on several work and witnessing trips for my church youth group. If you’re not familiar with what a work and witness group is, it is a focus group of people that go to do a particular project and also share the gospel of Christ. My first opportunity to do this was in 1991 at a youth group activity sponsored in Orlando, Florida. Although Orlando is well-known for Disneyland, it also has another side that is extremely poor and suffers from all the same problems that large cities do. Drugs and crime exists in large numbers even in the city that hosts Disneyland. During this opportunity I got to learn how to humbly help others.
I was no more than a garbage man by picking up garbage in an empty lot. But what I learned from that experience was being a servant is exactly what gave me true fulfillment. Even though I was walking around picking up trash in an empty lot I was still able to meet and engage other people in the community. When you come into a community and start picking up garbage and improving their area it makes people question why you’re there. I really learned from a very early age by helping others you open doors that you never thought were even possible. This experience and these dots that I connected during that work and witness trip in Orlando would forever change the way that I work with people.
What I learned from that experience has been something that I’ve been able to apply in every area of my life. What I have learned from charity is that it applies to business as well. Charity involves giving of oneself and ones resources with truly no expectation of any type of reciprocation. This particular experience in Orlando would forever change the way I think about how I engage others in every aspect of my life. During that trip I was able to meet several people in a very poor neighborhood in Orlando.
By going out in the community and picking up garbage I had people walk up to me and asked me who I was. At that point in my life, being very shy and insecure young person, this experience pushed me to respond to people. I had never been engaged in this way or forced to talk to someone when I didn’t want to. Charity for me was completely different. Understanding that charity is also a way of thinking not just a way of giving of one’s resources. I understood that I was being charitable by engaging people even when I was extremely uncomfortable and insecure with myself. Again what I learned from this experience changed me forever. A new philosophy and value was born in me in Orlando. Understanding that charity would truly benefit me if I practiced it every single day of my life. Again charity being something that you give with no expectation of getting anything back is the absolute key for this to work.
When you give with an expectation you will always be disappointed. This has constantly been a struggle for me as a focus point always making sure that charity stays focused on no reciprocation. Living with those types of expectations can only crash one’s hopes. However, when one gives and truly does with an open heart you will find that your heart is truly filled. I constantly tell myself this every single day even when it doesn’t make sense but time and again it is proven to be true.