“It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good . . .” – Galatians 4:18
I’m curious, who are those elusive people out there known as “hackers”? By hackers, I’m not talking about lousy golfers, instead those computer geek types who are sneaking around out in the cyber world trying to steal confidential information such as passwords to bank accounts, personal identities, or intellectual property, the sophisticated thieves of our day. I have this image of some zealous loner computer geek who never leaves his apartment, spending all his time staring at a screen thinking up devious schemes to either steal or vandalize. How tragic it is for these people that they choose to use their zeal for technology and their brilliant computer skills for evil when it could be used for so much good.
“It is fine to be zealous,” the Apostle Paul says, “provided the purpose is good.” Contrast, for example, those elusive cyber criminals with three other zealous individuals I had the opportunity to spend time with recently. Ruth Thompson founded Hugs Café for the purpose of providing training, employment, and future employability to adults with special needs, those who many had casted off as untrainable and unemployable. Yet, through her zeal for this population many now have productive jobs, a community of friends, a purpose in life, and most importantly knowing they are children of a God who loves them.
Then there are Colleen and Rand Southard, founders of Charis Hills, a summer camp program for young people also with special needs. Similarly, the results are that these young people discover they are perfectly capable of riding a horse, catching a fish, paddling a kayak, singing a song, and developing true friendships – and again most importantly knowing they are children of a God who loves them.
Ruth, Colleen and Rand are three of the most zealous people I have ever known, so zealous in fact that it is almost impossible to get them to talk about anything else. They are also three of the most joyful people I have ever known. To hang out with them is to witness almost nonstop smiles and laughter, and that is the result not of their zeal, but the amazing good that comes from it, the lives that are transformed. . . Oh, if the hackers only knew! Oh, if we who do know could only reach them and teach them!