Last week I attended a wonderful celebration: The first graduation ceremony for the Business Entrepreneur Academy of Corner to Corner. The graduates were of various ages and life experiences. The common bond was that they all had the desire and courage to begin pursuing their dreams of starting their own businesses. It was even more thrilling and inspiring for me, because the story behind the event was years in the making…
It began in 2006 when Will and Tiffany Acuff showed up for that first Bible study. They were interested in serving the city and fighting injustice, but they struggled to connect spiritual faith and social action in a meaningful way. After the study, Tiffany said, “I thought you all were doing something but obviously not. Don’t expect us back.”
They did come back, however, and kept coming back. They began realizing their own need for a spiritual foundation and community from which to serve. They knew that “It’s the right thing to do,” “There are so many needs,” “We have so much that we should give to others” and “It makes me feel good” were all self-focused and self-dependent reasons to “do something.” They wanted and needed more and they knew that others did, too.
“As we were further discipled about Jesus’ self-giving love, we found our reason to serve others – gratitude.” Corner to Corner was born out of their gratitude for Jesus. It is now a flourishing ministry committed to the flourishing of Nashville. It is absolutely thrilling to see how God has worked in and through Will and Tiffany.
Just as Will and Tiffany struggled to connect spirituality and commitment to our city, so must we. Getting involved in serving may well help others while it destroys our souls. How? The default mode of the human heart is, by its very nature, self. Serving others out of self-motivation is what one of the greatest American minds ever produced, Jonathan Edwards, referred to as ‘common virtue.’ However, the motivation that comes from Jesus’ self-giving love both prospers our souls and our city. This is what Edwards referred to as ‘true virtue.’
Are you involved in serving Nashville or would you like to be? Do you want to be a part of the solution to social injustices? Do you want to be a part of making Nashville an even better place? What motivates you to do so?
May we all be motivated, like the Acuffs, by true virtue as we seek the prospering of Nashville.