We get approached by so many people with so many ideas and thoughts and requests. One of the most interesting requests - often which contains the richest blessings for us - is when small businesses want to partner with us in some way. Sarah and I frequently marvel at the amazingly creative, tenacious, and intelligent people we have met who have reached out and supported and helped us throughout these past two years. There is another side to that, though, and I have been thinking about it a lot this past week. Sometimes people who connect with us do not make very successful partners and end up finding themselves disappointed.
I think I partially understand what happens with those individuals. The successful partnerships we have had have been forged with people who got involved mostly because they wanted to help and support the concept and idea of what The Torch is all about. They understand sometimes people need help, and they want to be part of helping them. If their business is blessed because of that, so be it, but that is not the driving force behind their motivation to support us. That attitude is key, because generosity without looking for reciprocity is what God is all about. And people who are truly generous are willing to sacrifice their time or money or comfort to help others. Sarah and I don’t stand to gain anything personally from the success of The Torch. We firmly believe God is entrenched in every aspect of this organization. He gave Sarah the idea, and He has removed a multitude of barriers, and helped us become better people along the way.
He is also the reason behind the blessings. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Giving in order to get or not giving because you are not getting is a double-edged sword. People who come to us and express interest in partnering with us solely because they think we can help their business become successful are missing the most important part of the whole partnership. Ultimately, this isn’t about any of us. There is a supernatural aspect which involves hearts and generosity and faith. If Sarah and I were to lose the faith part of this adventure, we would lose The Torch. Of that, I am confident.
It is not my natural inclination to want to give up what I have so I can give more to others. Goodness, I work hard for my money. But in the end, it’s not about me. It’s all about my attitude and my heart, and my desire to see others develop Hope and to know life can and will be beautiful and positive. And it can be beautiful and positive even if everything does not work out the way I would have it, or if tragedy strikes, or if I lose all my material possessions. That’s where the faith part kicks in and helps me to stick it out. And that’s the part that some people neglect to incorporate when they want to connect with us. I think they look at our Facebook page and read about some of the other awesome sponsors and supporters and the successful partnerships we share, and they think all they have to do is throw a few dollars our way and POOF success will be theirs! People who don’t have the right attitude are pretty transparent to Sarah and me.
We don’t want those kinds of partnerships. They are not what we are all about, even if the individuals involved donate money to The Torch. Ultimately, we want to help others. We want to make a difference. We want to be a difference and to show others how they can be a difference, too. We count ourselves successful when we look out the window of the food truck and children and adults are sitting around happily eating and chatting. We count it a success when we have forged a little more community among our fellow human beings, whether they are adults or children or teens. We don’t want to get anything back from The Torch; we want to be an example to others of how to give, how to be content with what you have, and how to love others so much you abandon your comfort zone, turn your life upside down, and work harder than you ever remember working before to make a dream become a reality, so you bring hope to people who can sometimes feel like there is nothing worth hoping for anymore.
That kind of success can't be bought, and it can't be gained simply by hitching your wagon to ours. It's a matter of your heart and attitude and whether or not you really care about others and want to make a difference, or you simply want people to think you do.