Many of you know the story of perfecting my pitch at Oral Roberts University. I headed to the university, thinking I was hot stuff. The first day we practiced, they put the other freshmen up to bat against me. I pitched my best fastball three times in a row. On the third pitch, a freshman knocked the ball – with a wooden bat – 410 feet over the centerfield wall! That was a pro-level shot! I immediately thought, “Toto, you ain’t in Kansas anymore.”
The pitching coach came to the mound after the hit and said, “Epperhart, we’re going to have to give you another pitch.” So, he taught me how to throw a slider. The first game I played in, I used this pitch and the first three guys all hit shots on me. My pitching coach walked out to the mound and said, “Epperhart, let me see your slider.” I held up my grip, and without saying a word, he moved my middle finger over one-eighth of an inch from the left side of the seam to the right side of the seam. I struck out the next three batters.
That one-eighth of an inch adjustment made a dramatic difference in the effect I was able to have. I believe that we, as Christians, also need to make an adjustment when it comes to our mindset if we are to have a kingdom impact.
Mindset Shifts for Christian Investors
The Economy of the Kingdom
One time, a famous Christian evangelist preached a crusade in Nairobi, and thousands of people were saved. Then, a religious group came in right behind him and offered micro-finance loans to the new converts, so many converted to his religion. While the Christian evangelist had a gospel of salvation mindset, which is essential, this group had a gospel of the kingdom mindset, and their kingdom gospel is what captured the hearts of those people.
This is because faith without works is dead (James 2:20). I’m not saying that evangelist’s faith was dead, but they way faith had been preached was. If after those people took the first step of accepting the Lord, the evangelist’s group would have followed up with poverty-eliminating empowerment, those people might have truly understood and become a follower of Christ. Evangelism alone, without bringing the kingdom of God to earth, can fall flat.
One of the aspects we find in the Jewish understanding of wealth is Tikkun Olam, which means perfecting the world. In “Secrets of Jewish Wealth Revealed”, Rabbi Celso Cukierkorn says,
“One of the great differences that set Jews apart from other cultural groups is that we see our wealth as a means to partner with God, as a way to bring God’s Kingdom into this earth, a concept that we call tikkun olam – perfecting the world. We perfect the world by using our God-given wealth to further God’s realm on this planet. So, what you see is that the Jewish people’s pursuit of wealth is often paired with the pursuit of charitable works, not only for selfish purposes.”
The problem we sometimes have in the church is that they only place we see true empowerment is in the area of giving. As a result, we give people fish. We give a lot of fish. Believe me, to support Christian ministries and local churches, we need to bring our tithes and our offerings, but let’s be crystal clear. There is an empowerment process that happens when you enable an individual to have their own business or assets. We honor God when we make these things happen through our position in life.
Jesus made it clear when He said, “For you have the poor with you always.” (Mark 14:7). When we look at poverty in third-world countries, there is an important distinction we need to make about caring for the needy. If we take Africa, where I’ve personally had the most experience, there have been many studies done in recent years showing that aid from western nations has created a welfare mentality among the people. The people don’t feel the need to till their garden because they can just go to a truck and get a meal.
Let me be clear – aid is important when people cannot help themselves. The reason we, at Tricord Global, give loans is becasue it brings people back to us every week. When we collect the loan payment, we offer training, teaching, coaching and mentoring in order to empower them. They walk away from the deal thinking, “I paid my loan back. I’m worth something.”
I hope you recognize the mindset shift we have to create in order to have a kingdom impact. The key to perfecting the world, I believe, is to empower those in need. Whether that is the drug addicted in your area or the desperate entrepreneurs in third world countries, empowerment can change their lives and convert them to the love of God.
That is the heart of what we do at my non-profit, Tricord Global. I hope you will consider investing with us, as the opportunity is closing soon. Click here for more information, or contact my office at (720) 416-4600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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