What is faith and how important is it in our life?
One can simply say faith is faith in ourselves or it can be faith in the spiritual sense; a faith that underwrites our autonomy. Although we attribute great scientific discoveries to the minds of geniuses, asrophohsicist John Gribbin contends most discoveries arise from the painstaking work of ordinary people engaged in research who build on the prior work of previous generations and whose faith and curiosity create for us those great new discoveries without thought of personal glory.
Faith is the very essence of life; that vital ingredient that gives us our conviction and confidence. I was reminded recently of the dire consequences of losing ones faith by Jeff Gambin at a luncheon where he was the guest speaker. Jeff Gambin founded “Just Enough Faith” to help homeless people regain enough faith in themselves to lift them out of homelessness, and to offer a hand up to all those in danger of becoming homeless.
His story begins at University where he studied entomology (study of bugs) rather than medicine; contrary to a stern father’s wishes who consequently refused to financially support him. Jeff learnt cooking and became an expert chef to support his studies. After graduation he became a very successful Crop Duster, and later Restaurateur and Entrepreneur.
One winters night after experiencing a continuation of a conflict with his business partner he sat alone on a park bench to contemplate his future.
A homeless man offered him a blanket.
‘It’s cold out there mate. Better take my blanket.’
Jeff replied ‘I am okay’. ‘Just thinking.’
The Homeless man left but returned to repeat his offer ‘its cold out there mate, better take my blanket.’
Jeff was becoming annoyed, ‘You obviously think I’m homeless, but I happen to like my own company; I’m okay!’
The homeless man walked off leaving him with his blanket and commented ‘I have heard all of that before, you better keep warm tonight; it’s cold out there.’
This experience changed Jeff’s life. He spent weeks searching for the homeless man to thank and eventually found him. This man, who previously was a farmer had walked of the land during a prolonged drought and being unable to find work in the city, too proud to ask for assistance, had instead turned in solace to alcoholism and homelessness. Jeff wanted to help but found the homeless sceptical about his offer of help. Consequently with $4.50 in his pocket and only the clothes he was wearing he decided to become the equivalent of a homeless man, by staying in shelters, visiting welfare agencies and intermingling with other homeless people in his quest to discover why people became homeless and how he might best help them.
After many weeks the insight came to him; homelessness arises because people lose faith in themselves. How much faith do they need? Just enough to lift them up and out of that mindset.
Since forming Just Enough Faith(JEF), Jeff has amassed thousands of regular volunteers: dentists, doctors and helpers who each night deliver restaurant quality meals and other services to his clients and the homeless. Many thousands of homeless people have re-entered society directly as consequence of his efforts and those of the ever growing army of volunteers. He has continued with his own successful business which largely funds ‘Just Enough Faith’.
You can visit his website and read about his inspirational work by clicking here.