Before I move on to Part 2 of the argument from special revelation, I want to take this opportunity to make you guys aware (if you aren't already) of the TOMS shoe company. For every pair of shoes you purchase, TOMS will give a pair to a child somewhere without shoes, thereby helping children in about 25 countries now avoid disease and attend school. All because of shoes.
This week, TOMS will give away their one millionth pair. Tonight, I had the privilege of hearing TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie speak at my university. He told the story of how he started the company and its rapid growth in the last four years. He credits the success--rightly, I think--to the power of giving. Sure, the shoes are comfortable. Yes, they look cool. I own three pair. But it's no secret the company never would have taken off like it has without the emphasis on charity. There is something within us that sees children without shoes and a guy with a clever idea, and says, "Yes. I want to give to that."
So what's my point? Well first, that you should seriously consider making your next shoe purchase a pair of TOMS. But there are a couple other things I'd like to point out as well.
TOMS is successful because of generosity. I don't know what your feelings on tithing/giving are, but whether you are a Christian or not, you simply cannot go wrong when you give a portion of your income away. Period. If you don't do this, I challenge you to start.
Second, capitalism is not evil. It is morally neutral. And TOMS is one great example of how it can work very successfully for the betterment of humanity. Mycoskie himself pointed out that his idea worked much better--and impacted many more people--as a business model than it ever would have as a non-profit, charity organization.
And thirdly, and most importantly, charity is supposed to be one of the defining characteristics of the Christian, both individually and corporately. This is why I thought this a worthy topic to interrupt my series on Jesus: this is something He would champion. That's right, I think Jesus would wear TOMS. And in connection with this, TOMS has unwittingly opened the door for God to speak to countless people. Charity and generosity are from God. This means that every time someone (Christian or not) decides to act in a charitable way, they are acting in accordance with the will of God Himself, thereby creating a connection (however slight) between themselves and Him. Maybe they'll feel good about it and ask themselves why. Maybe they'll be moved by poverty and wonder at this. However it happens, the point is this: when charity is there, Christ is present. And Christ changes people.