A scruffy, haggard-looking man at Hulen and I-20 holds a sign that reads, "Injured in Iraq - please help."
A Pregnancy Lifeline display sits in the corner of our church foyer week after week, beckoning donations for this local ministry.
Compassion and World Vision magazines lay scattered across our kitchen counter, their photos of hungry and abandoned children interrupting the flow of our day.
Our friend announcing to his wife and three young boys that he's trading his husband/daddy roles for something more appealing.
I don't know if you ever feel this way, but the hurts and needs I encounter peripherally on a day to day basis can feel overwhelming, to the point where I'm often paralyzed before I even know how to help: Should we send money to this organization or person, and if so, how much? Is this the time to lend a hand and invest in this person or ministry or cause? What can I offer that would actually help?
So it's refreshing to see people who aren't defeated by massive needs, but instead keep their eyes open to what's already going on around them, and then jump in and do something.
The Broetje family in southeast Washington has figured it out. Talk about pouring their energies and time and finances and compassion into Kingdom work.
Broetje (pronounced Bro-chee) Orchards was highlighted this month as Costco Connection's cover story. The company's label - "First Fruits of Washington" - grabbed my attention, second to the fact that the article shone a brilliant light on the Broetje family's Christian faith contributing to their servant-leadership business approach.
This story is incredible. From their purchase of a few acres of cherry orchards as newlyweds in 1967, the Broejtes now operate an $80 million business and donate up to 75% of their annual earnings to faith-based, community-oriented initiatives.
The thing that strikes me the most in reading this article and then perusing FirstFruits.com is the family's comprehensive care of their employees from start to finish. They've taken significant vulnerable and financial risks in providing for the needs of their employees. All of the amazing things they invest in stem from an organic process of simply opening their eyes to needs around them, and then pursuing appropriate (and out-of-the-box) ways to meet real needs.
The Broetje's oldest daughter, Suzanne, is quoted in the Costco Connection:
"We don't want to just throw money at problems. We're in it for the long haul."
Yikes. That takes commitment - sacrificial, physical, emotional, financial - real commitment. Kind of overwhelming to think about, until you see the overflowing bounty this family has created through that kind of commitment.
Again, check out this article. Worth the read (even if you're a Sam's fan). Kudos to Costco for highlighting this family who will in turn push other businesses and individuals toward servant leadership. I, for one, am challenged.