In this week’s video we discuss the transformative power of embracing small beginnings. Join Erik Cooper, the President of The Stone Table as he shares the inspiring story of CRF Affordable Housing and the three decades of faith and resilience. Hit the play button now and be inspired to embrace your own journey with confidence. Like, share, and subscribe for more empowering content on faith, business, and global missions.
“In this week’s video, I want to talk to you about one key ingredient that every follower of Jesus needs to incorporate into their everyday lives and work, no matter what sphere of this life that you work in. If we want to have success the way Jesus defines success…
Market, for those of you who don’t know what we do here at the stone table, we like to say we’re a missions organization, a global missions organization that is rooted in the marketplace. And that marketplace activity actually goes back three decades, about 30 years now, when we started CRF affordable housing, which is an apartment, a real estate company that was created for the express purpose of generating missions money through the marketplace. So we do all of that through the stone table.
It’s been a bit of an interesting exercise here over the last couple of weeks. We’ve been compiling some reports, and we’ve been doing some updates to our website. And so I’ve been pulling numbers and pulling reports from the last 30 years. And I saw something very, very interesting this past week. I looked back at our first missions contribution. It was actually four years into our existence. So we launched in 1992, and it took four years for us to make that first contribution to global missions. And then I did some calculations, and the average yearly giving from those first four years is one percent of what we’ve been able to give this year to global missions. And so it kind of caught me off guard, the size and scope of the growth and what God has done kind of caught me off guard.
So, what does that mean? What does that say to you and to me? And I guess, what would my encouragement to you be around that statistic? And I think the first thing I want to say to you is the old verse from Zechariah 4:10 that says, ‘Do not despise the days of small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.’ So my encouragement to you is, if you are on a journey to do something you feel God has called you to, do not despise the fact that it is not where you want it to be right now today. I have this habit of wanting everything to be grand and polished right out of the gate, but I want to encourage you today, wherever you’re at, if you are being obedient and faithful to the Lord, do not despise the size of what God is doing through you right now. It took four years for us to make one contribution to missions, and that contribution was one percent of what we’re able to do today, 30 years later. Thirty years to feel like we’re doing something or see that we are doing something substantive.
And so, that’s my first encouragement to you today. My second encouragement to you, though, is a little more missional. What I mean by that is one of the other things I think I’ve learned as I’ve looked back over our history is that you cannot go wrong when you keep global missions at the center of what you do. And I’m not saying, so please don’t hear me say this, I’m not saying that everything will go well. I’m not saying that everything will be easy because that is not how the kingdom works. That is not how our reality works here in this ‘already but not yet’ reality that we live in here on this Earth.
Okay, there have been plenty of dark days, plenty of dark nights of the soul, plenty of nights of waking up at 4 a.m. and staring at the ceiling, wondering how we were gonna make this happen or if the money was going to come through on this end of the equation. I don’t want you to hear that success is guaranteed when you keep the Great Commission central to what you do. But I do want you to hear that keeping the Great Commission at the center is something that the Lord longs to bless, is something that the Lord longs to engage with. And when we are on God’s agenda, I believe the Lord is waiting to bless our efforts and get behind His efforts. And God’s glory, the glory of Jesus Christ among every nation, tribe, and tongue, that is God’s agenda, that is God’s story, that is the whole story arc of Scripture.
When I look back over 30 years of our organization, our founders were smart guys, they were good business guys. But I think even they would agree that the Lord has blessed our efforts here far beyond their business acumen and business skills. Something has happened here that’s far beyond our abilities, and I am 100% convinced that the Lord has blessed our marketplace efforts here with what we do because our organization has never wavered in keeping global missions, in keeping the Great Commission central to our calling for over three decades. Our founders have not wavered on that, and our team here has not wavered on that.
So if you are a follower of Jesus and you own a business, you want to start a business, you work in the marketplace, you work a marketplace job, you know a couple of things here first: the work is central to our efforts. So please don’t hear me say anything otherwise. Be great at your work, be great at what you do, and what God has called you to in the marketplace. Honor God, love your neighbor through the work of your hands. And we all have our passion projects, you know, our ways to give back to the community, places we volunteer, initiatives that we give our money and resources to. Keep doing those things. We are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed wherever we are.
But here’s my encouragement to you: let Jesus give you a heart for the nations. Let Jesus give you His heart for the nations. Wrap your ultimate agenda around the Great Commission, around global missions, around seeing the three-plus billion unreached and unengaged people around the world have access to the gospel, every nation, tribe, and tongue. This is the great story of Jesus that we have all been invited into, and when we embrace His story as our storyline, I believe we will be swept into purpose and blessing that we never imagined possible.
So, I’ll close with this: the global glory of Jesus is not just for some Christians over there or some subset of Christians to engage and get involved in. Those who have been called to the mission field, it is a calling. The Great Commission is a commission and calling for all of us. So, wrap your ultimate life’s purpose in the Great Commission.
You know, after three decades here at CRF in the stone table, I could not believe in that statement anymore. And so my encouragement to you is wrap your story in God’s global missions, Great Commission story. You will not regret it. Hey, thanks for watching. If you like this video, maybe give us a like, a comment, share it with some friends. If you’re interested in more resources from the stone table, you can find those at thestonetable.org/start.
Before you go, check out this other video. We’ll see you next time. Thank you. Thank you.”