A 21st Century St. Francis

Read this story about a young man who had a vision, abandoned his riches, and went among the poor to help them – and succeeded.  It is a joyful story, complete with a happy ending, except it isn’t really over yet. 

He had a job in Silicon Valley and was doing quite well for himself, when he realized he needed to help people in his native country, and he did it.  In spite of setbacks, he now has a company with loyal workers who produce free clothing for schoolchildren, which is subsidized by his retail clothing line sold online and in the United States at Bloomingdale’s.  His company also partners with other factories to produce fair-trade clothing that helps workers out of poverty and donates clothing for schoolchildren in Liberia.  They have been in business since 2014, and have donated over 10,000 uniforms to Liberian schoolchildren. 

This man provides a wonderful example to us all; he could have continued his comfortable California lifestyle, but realized he had to change the world, so he did.  If you would like to help him change the world, you can go to their website and purchase their clothing. 

Perhaps we should consider doing something similar.  Most people cannot make such a drastic change, leaving comfort and status behind; but for those who can, accomplishing something like what our 21st century St. Francis has done is a possibility which should be taken seriously.  If more people simply worked differently and took care for others, social justice could be extended further, and fewer people would be left behind in poverty.  As it is, most people have a smaller vision, considering only short-term goals and consequences and the welfare of those people closest to them.  Most people simply do not seek the welfare of distant others, rather, they seek their own personal gain.  This is not necessarily evil; most of these people have a sphere of awareness and concern that is just too small to encompass the kind of revolutionary work done in the story above.  For them, it is more than enough to take care of themselves and their families, and pay their taxes.  Especially now, with people having to work more for less pay, it is nearly impossible to consider those outside one’s own sphere of awareness.  It is very unfortunate that this is the case, because what is needed now is a larger vision, a longer view, a larger sphere of awareness and concern.  We really must move beyond our small concerns and accept our interconnectedness, and act on it.  This is what will change the world. 

There are those of us who really are more limited and cannot make large, spectacular changes in the world, or even in our own lives.  Nevertheless, we can choose to do what we can do differently, with the welfare of the larger world in mind.  When enough such small changes are made, they will eventually combine to create a greater force for progress.  Stories like the one above give me hope that more people will choose to change their lives and the lives of others, whether in big or small ways, and that we can have a better world for us all.

 

Copyright © 2016 Teresa Chupp.  All rights reserved.

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