A while back I heard about a guy named, Sasha Dichter, who directs the innovative non-profit Acumen fund. Dichter has investors all over the world pouring resources into parts of India, Pakistan and East Africa where the average income is less than $4 per day. They have a goal to make 100 million in investments, touching 50 million lives.
That’s amazing. But it isn’t the part of Sasha’s story that inspires me.
Sasha has spent much of his life saying ‘no’ to people, professionally and personally. When you direct a large operation looking for maximum impact, saying ‘no’ goes with the territory. But after a while, it started getting to him. It seemed to clash with the generous nature his company was built on.
One night, everything changed. Just after boarding a train to go home, a man approached him saying he needed money. Sasha met him with the standard auto response ‘no’ he had become so efficient at providing. Only, it was the last ‘no’ he would say for the next 30 days. He went home, and before cooler heads could prevail, went public on his blog about his intentions.
For 30 days, he would give money to anyone who asked of him. Whether that was his spare change, or millions of dollars of resources that his firm controls.
He knew everybody wouldn’t think this was a great idea. He knew people would say giving to a guy on the train wasn’t the smartest way to give—that he should give to a homeless shelter instead. But Dichter realized his generosity experiment was about him. If he really wanted to see broken places and people in the world healed, he had to start by being more open himself, being willing to take risks. He was “tired of hiding behind what was smart instead of doing what was right.”
The experiment changed his life.
Sasha now has a ‘yes’ bias to his calling that gives purpose to every encounter. He is trying to live life as a ‘yes man’ in response to the issues that grip his heart.
The vast majority of us aren’t about to venture into microfinance in the next 30 days. But we could learn a lot from the spirit of Sasha’s experiment. It could be life changing to make a commitment to God:
God, for the next 30 days, if I see a need, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, I’ll do my small part toward meeting it.
I’ll start saying ‘yes’ to every prompting I feel from your Spirit within my sphere of influence instead of saying ‘no.’
How much difference do you think it would make in the world if you had that kind of availability to God? That kind of intentionality towards others?
I’ll answer that for you: it would make a huge difference. Consistent obedience, a heart that’s open to give God back everything he’s placed in your hands, is enough to change everything.
Make the commitment. 30 days. If you see a need, do as much as can to meet it. If you hear from God, say ‘yes.’ I can’t promise you’re going to end up changing 50 million lives. But I can promise you’ll change the lives of the people God wants you to.