Home Menu

Living Beyond Ourselves

Limitations. Boxes. Narrow perspectives. Closed minds. This is a short list of our soul’s enemies. All of us want to be involved with something larger than we are. We all want to contribute to a cause greater than ourselves and be part of a lasting legacy.

For some, they seek to establish greatness by building a corporation. Others erect statues. Many accrue wealth. For others, it is seeing their name perpetuated with a plaque, a resume, or a trophy case. Being involved in a noble cause inspires some to make sacrifices. Influencing people motivates others. In varying degrees, all of us want to be part of something great, and in so doing, seize upon the quest to live beyond ourselves.

There is something in each of us that longs to be a contributor. Everyone wants to believe that if he fails to give something of himself the world will be a poorer place. We are created in our Father’s image, and at the core of His heart, Father is a giver of grand and extravagant gifts. We want to follow in His footsteps, and I believe He has made this possible by placing us together during our brief, but significant, tenure on Earth.

Dan and his wife, Rodiana, lived in Toronto for fourteen years before leaving their careers, future, and beautiful city to return to their native Romania to minister to their countrymen. Romania is financially destitute, raped and pillaged by the communist tyrant, Nicolae Ceausescu. Dirt roads are the norm. Horses and wagons are common. But the people are hungry to bond with those who will stand beside them as they stare into a mind-boggling future. This opportunity inspired Dan and Rodiana to pack their belongings and family and return. They hosted a group of influential couples in the community and invited me to speak to them while I was in the area.

In another city I met Daniel, who lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee for twelve years with his wife and children. He graduated with a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Tennessee and worked for a high tech firm. Eight months ago, he returned to Timisoara to influence his countrymen. His oxblood loafers, originally purchased to stroll the carpeted halls of big business, now carry the dust of dirt streets. But his eyes gleam when he talks of why he left the US. Daniel assembled a group of business leaders and asked me to teach from my book, Things Only Men Know.

Gelu lived in Boston for nine years. He worked through the Romanian government to obtain permission to start a publishing company when he returned. He believes that if he can publish the great works of our faith, and distribute them to his countrymen, change will occur. He left all that Boston afforded him to live in the land of his youth. The project he is currently interested in involves publishing some of the books written through Lifetime Guarantee.

Bolt, an American, left his partnership in a $5.5 million dollar per year company and moved from Minnesota to minister in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. His wife had a wonderful career and together they left a beautiful home and close friends. They lived through four wars in three years, 320,000 % inflation, harbored refugees—14 at one time—in their home, and then worked to extract their friends from the war-ravaged territories of the Balkans. Bolt opened his arms to receive a friend’s newborn child across the border and pledged to take care of the child and its mother until the father could get out of the country. Bolt is now the Eastern European Director for EuroPartners, a ministry and consulting firm that Lifetime Guarantee collaborated with during our European outreach in May 2000.

Erno left his profession as an architect to join the staff of Grace Ministries in Budapest, Hungary. He has five school-age children and is subsisting by raising support in a country where support raising is an unheard of concept. He spends most of his time translating from English into Hungarian. His passion is to make sure what he hears in English is accurately rendered in translation so his countrymen will grasp the life-changing message he facilitates. It is Erno who stands beside me and translates, not just my words, but my heart, my eyes, my hands, my face, my posture—me. He is a dear brother, a great warrior of the faith, and a man of supreme vision.

Why have I shared these brief biographies? Why is Lifetime Guarantee involved in international ministry?

I have told you these stories because each of these people is committed to being part of something greater than himself. They are living beyond themselves. Why does LGI engage in international outreach? Because we facilitate the vision of the people in these biographical sketches, and dozens more just like them. In joining them, we also live beyond ourselves and take part in something greater than ourselves.

It is true! The need is great in Eastern Europe. But the need is great in Fort Worth, LA, Kansas City, and Philadelphia as well! What makes Europe special? Why expend the effort and expense to engage in a ministry 9,000 miles away? Why work to communicate beyond the barriers of languages never before heard by most of us?

The answer is opportunity. Opportunity to collaborate with people engaged in significant outreaches. Opportunity to affect change on behalf of our Father’s kingdom. Opportunity to invest financially in ministry that renders a dynamic reward. Opportunity to participate in ministry unlike anything existing in the United States. Opportunity to think and minister outside the normal box.

But at a more fundamental level is the opportunity for each of us to be involved with something beyond himself. Reaching out internationally enables us—all of us, you and me—to be directly involved with a tangible cause greater than ourselves. It is an opportunity to reach beyond our borders, beyond our homes, beyond our needs, and touch the impossible and remote in a meaningful manner.

Our purpose statement at Lifetime Guarantee states that we seek to know Jesus Christ, see ourselves as He sees us, live as He intended, and effectively share the same with others. If we do this persistently and effectively we will leave a lasting legacy.

We must begin with ourselves. You can’t take someone where you have never gone. But then we must see beyond ourselves to our families, and then to our neighbors. But our vision must not stop here. We must have a vision encompassing our communities and states. But broader yet, our vision must also encompass our nation, and I believe, we must see the purpose statement of our lives and ministry reach internationally as well. Lifetime Guarantee provides the vehicle for this to occur.

Do you recall Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8? "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Notice the ever-widening circle of influence: Jerusalem (local), Judea and Samaria (neighbors and regions), and the most remote parts of the earth.

In our purpose statement and its application is the opportunity to live beyond ourselves and leave a legacy larger and grander than ourselves. The international outreach efforts of Lifetime Guarantee provide the unprecedented opportunity to stand beside Dan and Rodiana, Daniel, Gelu, Bolt and Liz, Erno, and countless others. In so doing, we not only see inside our own hearts, but when we lift our eyes, we see a vision that calls for our collaboration. It challenges us to live beyond our own needs. It offers the opportunity to fix our gaze on an eternal horizon that knows no limitations. It lets us hear in our spirits and souls the compulsion of God’s grace. It affords the opportunity to emulate our Father and give of ourselves extravagantly.

Preston Gillham

About the Author

As a co-founder, Preston Gillham led Lifetime for 30 years. Preston is a writer, speaker, and leadership guide. He has authored numerous articles and several books including No Mercy and Battle for the Round Tower. He blogs on “Life and Leadership”. More about Preston, his writings, speaking, and his consulting practice can be located at PrestonGillham.com.