The following is a guest post, contributed by one of the OPEN Services team members in USA.
I watched a Ted talk the other day, about how simple interactions can be more far-reaching than you know. The speaker told a story about how handing out a lollipop on Freshman registration day at college ended up impacting the trajectory of someone’s life. The funny thing is, the speaker did not even remember that interaction. (You can watch the Ted talk here.)
The point of his story is that each of us is more of a leader than we realize; we end up leading people in ways we don’t intend to. But it got me thinking about B4T, about how just living life and being ourselves in certain contexts can have a profound impact on the people around us.
B4T and Me
I had my own “lollipop moment” in 2018 at a Halloween party. A friend asked me, “How was work this week?” That standard, innocuous question led to a conversation—which led to an offer a couple of months later to join the OPEN Services team in the US. For over 4 years now, I’ve been using my skills with spreadsheets, processes, book editing, and more to serve B4Ters.
In these 4+ years, I have had the privilege to meet and talk with several B4Ters who are committed to life day-in and day-out among the least-reached. We may not think it’s a big deal to file taxes ethically, treat employees with kindness, hire a differently-abled person, or give someone the day off to be with their sick family member, which happens regularly in B4T businesses. But I have heard stories of each of those things being the catalyst for someone coming to the Lord.
Think about the example of Jesus. He walked down the street, and a woman was healed; he took a nap, and the disciples had a life-changing moment; he prayed over the food, and 5,000 men (besides women and children) had full bellies.
I could end here with an encouraging note about “keep doing what you’re doing, and don’t give up because you could be someone’s ‘lollipop’ moment.” But that’s not what you need on the days when the mundanity of life is oppressive, when B4T seems like it’s all B and no T, and when the adrenaline of living in a new country is long gone.
Example or Savior?
We have great examples in the lollipop guy, in others around us, and in Jesus. But Jesus didn’t come just to be a good example and teach us to hand out lollipops. He came to be our Savior. He created us; he lived, died, and rose for us; he promises us eternity with him one day.
THAT is the reason we do B4T. THAT is the reason we keep going on the days when it’s hard. THAT is the reason we trust God with the outcomes of our worKship. Because the truth of the Gospel is not for only us—it’s also for the least-reached. And how will they know, unless we show them Jesus?
My prayer for B4Ters is that people will see not just your kindness, but the reason for it; that lives will be changed—not because you provide jobs, but because you provide hope; that people will recognize your worKship—not because you are good at it, but because Jesus works through you in ways you never would imagine. And yes, he sometimes works through lollipops.
Charity E works with the OPEN team in the USA. She lives in San Diego and is passionate about the Gospel, the color pink, and self-publishing. At OPEN, she works in the Recruitment, Communication, and Coaching departments. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about B4T, read Business for Transformation by Patrick Lai.