Created to Make a Difference

“God spends the day elsewhere, but He sleeps in Rwanda.”

This may be a popular saying in that East African country, but my view of Rwanda has been shaped by 1990’s era news reports of violence, genocide, and war.  Jonathan David Golden has spent a few nights in Rwanda himself, and the result of that is a multi-million dollar coffee business that promotes justice through partnering directly with Rwandan farmers to make excellent coffee — and to make a difference.

Be You.  Do Good. tells the story of Jonathan’s journey from conflicted and confused to confident and called.  On his way to “The Land of a Thousand Hills” (the name of his company and another nickname for Rwanda), he extracts twelve principles that shaped his missional world view:

  1.  Let Go of the Myths – We believe all kinds of false statements about calling and vocation that keep us mired in indecision.
  2. Be Who You Are – Life is a “cosmic collaboration” in which God works through the person he created to do a great thing.  Don’t put that self on the shelf.
  3. Use What You Have — Take the first step, and don’t wait. Notice who is nearby to help, and live scrappy!
  4. Get What You Can — Sounds pretty radical, right? Jonathan is a believer in “The Big Ask.”  Tempered by the truth that it’s not about you, but about the call, this is a legitimate position:  you are inviting others into God’s work.
  5. Follow the Inkling — God invites us into adventure.  Our experiences and gifts are custom-made to equip us for that faithful following.
  6. Pursue What Makes You Come Alive — Sensitive to social injustice from the time he was a boy, Jonathan realized that his entrepreneurial spirit and his heart for ministry could make a difference in Rwanda through the production of coffee.  This chemistry of passion and ability is what we all need to find.
  7. Find a People to Serve — A healthy community is one in which everyone blesses and everyone is blessed in return.  For Jonathan, it was a matter of not being “The Rich White Guy.”  Serve and be served.
  8. Growing Little by Little — The work of forgiveness, finding your calling, reaching your goals:  these are all works of slow grace.
  9. March Through Challenges — One foot ahead of the other requires a mundane soldiering through the hard times.  Jonathan shares his “liturgy for life” which, essentially, is a daily turning of his face toward what is true.
  10. Follow, Don’t Force — Forging through with one’s own agenda can be dangerous.  Pause and allow the Holy Spirit to show the next step.
  11. Stand Back Up — When the wheels come off our plans, the choice between give-up and stand-up is a tough one.  The myth of “easy” can keep us from persevering.
  12. Stay Open to New Possibilities — Open eyes to the needs around us and open hearts to hear the voice of the Spirit are essential to readiness.

Intensely practical and yet highly motivational, Be You. Do Good. is a call to gritty obedience and a faithful following that honors God’s unique gifting of the believer.  When the Spirit whispers, take one brave step.  Then, see what God does with your availability.


Interested in more details about Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Co.?  Check out the story here.

This book was provided by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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26 thoughts on “Created to Make a Difference”

  1. Thanks for sharing about Golden’s 12 Principles, Michele. The one that spoke most to me was “Pursue What Makes You Come Alive.” Yes! We are here to have abundant life and what makes life more fulfilling than spending time in your passion!


  2. Michele, I also very much enjoyed reading this book. It was most inspiring & a wonderful reminder that it is in being ourselves, we do the good we were created to do. Blessings!


  3. I understood a lot of this. My husband and I lived in Uganda and had met some who had been out of Rwanda b/c of the serious situation in about ’94. Anyhow, I’ve had long-time friends there taking things around for many people. I’d have loved to be in Rwanda …. and certainly loved in Uganda. NOW, able to be only in one portion of the U.S., b/c as a driver for years to go around to see people, worship, deal with the demonic portions, 2 months ago a Dr. said I could not drive any more, b/c of my brain issue. SO all I can do now is worship the Lord in my house or wherever my husband or others drive me around. BUT Rwanda was a special location of how the Lord broke into lives. Thank you for sharing this. Grabbed my attention, to say the least. Bless you…


  4. Wow, Michele, I could pretty much camp out on each of those principles — there’s so much depth there. This certainly sounds like a great book for anyone wishing to make an impact for God. Thanks for sharing this on #LMMLinkup so that I could be inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michele, this book sounds very interesting and it sounds like he has some good suggestions for life, too. I especially like #2 “Be Who You Are – Life is a “cosmic collaboration” in which God works through the person he created to do a great thing. Don’t put that self on the shelf.” Instead of wishing we were different or being envious of someone else’s gifts, we should be who we are offering ourselves to God. He will take us and work through us to accomplish His purposes. Thanks for sharing your review! Blessings!


    1. Yes, Gayl, the guy who wrote it is an entrepreneur type, but he certainly captures truth for mums like us. And I really appreciated your words over at the Mudroom in connection to Bronwyn’s piece. Beautiful, wasn’t it?


  6. I was so touched by so many of these points that I know I need to read this book. I think I ask you this all the time, so forgive me, but do you feel this book would be appropriate for middle grade children? We are studying this part of Africa in a few weeks, and I’m wondering if this might be a good read for all of us. Love having you as a part of Booknificent Thursday!


    1. Yes, especially if you are reading it together as a family, because this guy really grew up in kind of a Christian-y path, wandered from it for while, but ended up living his faith in a very non-traditional way that resulted in great good for a lot of people. I think we do have a tendency to “picture” a future for our kids (as homeschooling, Christian parents), and I almost missed the mark with my oldest boy because the future I “wanted” for him was so different from what God had designed Him for.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Erika! Sometimes I feel bad that I don’t write a “unique” post for every link up . . . the schedule is just too full, so when I have a book review that applies, I’m so happy to be able to join the party!

      Liked by 1 person

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