The first time I watched the story of Lady Huntington, I marveled at the impact of her generosity. Born into aristocracy in the early 18th century, she came to know Christ in adulthood and used her wealth to help spread the gospel during The Great Awakening. Her changed heart awakened her passion, redefined her wealth, and multiplied it for Kingdom purposes.
As I heard her story, I realized this was the very same type of generosity that enabled my sister, mom, dad, and me to all come to faith.
‘Saving the world,’ in need of a Savior
My parents grew up in blue-collar middle class homes during the 1950s. My father was idealistic and ambitious. After a few years serving in the Peace Corps he married my mom and got a job in insurance. His ambition quickly kicked in as he explored the promising world of commercial real estate. He moved our family from New England to Miami, Florida, to pursue his dream of success and business ownership.
He was successful (most years) and we lived a very comfortable life. He did his best to expose me to other cultures by sponsoring me to go on trips overseas where I would encounter poverty, war, and communism. And it worked. I felt my role in life was to “save the world” through good works and giving back. The only problem was we didn’t know God personally, so I believed everything was up to me; I was in the role of savior.
Transformed by the gospel
In 1990 my sister attended an outreach lunch where she heard the gospel in a way that transformed her heart. She spent the next year in a Bible study run by Executive Ministries. It was there she heard about what was happening through a small church plant called Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City where I lived. She called me after a weekend of behaviors I wasn’t proud of and told me about Redeemer. Then she had someone from the church call to invite me to attend. Over the course of a few weeks I went to services and a Bible study and, like my sister, became convinced that Jesus was who He claimed to be and that I needed a Savior.
The impact of gospel-focused passion
I later learned that like Lady Huntington had done for revival in the 1700s by opening her home to evangelists, the DeMoss family had done for Redeemer. Art and Nancy DeMoss owned a beautiful mansion on the upper east side of Manhattan that became a ministry hub for outreach and discipleship. Redeemer held their early meetings there. And this family, like the story we share below of Lady Huntington, shows the impact of a life lived out on behalf of others—a life where the passion for the gospel overcomes social norms and selfish gain.
May we never forget the power of one life to make an impact. For my family it had eternal consequence.