"Selfishness never ends well."
These are the words of Scott Harrison, who before becoming the Founder of Charity Water, was a nightclub and party promoter in Manhattan. He describes this as a time when he was "chasing after models," mingling with the New York City elite, and indulging in illicit drugs including cocaine and ecstasy.
When he was 28 he had an epiphany about his job and life: "I was selling selfishness and decadence. He recalled feeling like "the most selfish, sycophantic, and miserable human being" and the "worst person I knew."
In 2004 he quit his job and volunteered for the Christian Charity, Mercy Ships, which operates a fleet of hospital ships offering free health care. He served aboard the Anastasia in West Africa for two years and was exposed to the harsh conditions in impoverished Liberia. He realized that 80% of all the diseases they encountered were attributable to to unsafe water and poor sanitation. He wanted to commit to a life of service, and decided that lack of clean water was the biggest obstacle facing the poor.
In 2006 Harrison founded Charity Water which is a non profit that works to bring clean and safe water to developing nations. The organization's goal is to bring clean water to 100 million people by 2020.
Though my story is different it has some similarities. I was a Christian singer-songwriter and Bible study teacher, but looking back even those roles and activities were self-serving without a whole lot of purpose, significance, and satisfaction.
Then 18 years ago Africa messed me up.
I started taking volunteer teams to Kenya and God opened my eyes and my heart to several things:
1. Life has no meaning and will never make sense apart from two things: Loving God and loving others. 2. Serving the poor is central to the Gospel and the life of Jesus. 3. My selfish, overindulgent lifestyle was empty, meaningless, and total hypocrisy. 4. If I was going to "find my life" I would have to "lose it."
In the years since starting Houses with Hope I am so thankful that God showed me that living the so call "Good Life" was no life at all. Had I continued down the road I was going on I would have ended up being a miserable, self-absorbed sychopant like Scott Harrison before God beautifully "messed him up" too. I might never have realized one very important thing...
...selfishness never ends well.