Let me preface this post with a little known fact: I hate public speaking. People tell me that I’m good at it, but I am not very fond of it. That is, unless I’m talking about something I am passionate about – such as TOMS Shoes. TOMS is a shoe company that uses a “one for one” business model. With every pair of shoes that TOMS sells, a pair in return is given to a child in need in an undeveloped or developing country. I personally think this model is genius, part of the reason being because TOMS is teaching consumers how to be socially mindful with their purchase. I love knowing that, when I choose to buy a pair of shoes from TOMS, someone, somewhere across the world is being given a pair of shoes who may have never owned a pair before. This overwhelming excitement may be due partially (or fully) to my love for Africa – specifically, Kenya – which I traveled to this past July. I’ve seen the feet without shoes, and my heart aches for them.
But let me get back to my point.
A few months ago in public speaking class, I chose to give a speech on TOMS Shoes, mainly because I knew I wouldn’t have as much trouble speaking in front of a class full of strangers if there was true passion and meaning behind my words. Thus, I wrote my speech, practiced it, and delivered it. Then I was done with it.
Or so I thought.
A week or two later, a girl I sit next to in class told me that she had ordered a pair of TOMS… because of my speech. Yes, I had passion behind my speech – but did I think it would spur anyone to action? Not really. I honestly could not believe it! The fact that God had used me, through something I really had no desire to do in the first place, was astounding… and still is. Someone, somewhere in the world, has a new pair of shoes because of a speech – because of a seized opportunity. And I claim absolutely no credit for it, because it was all God’s work and timing.
“Here's a scary thought: What if God called you to give beyond your comfort level? Would you be afraid? Would you try to explain it away or dismiss it as impractical? And in the process, would you miss out on a harvest opportunity for which God had explicitly prospered you in the first place?” (Andy Stanley, Fields Of Gold)
“Why would we need to experience the Comforter if our lives were already comfortable?” (Francis Chan)