I’ve decided to try to use my blog in 2019 as a way of sharing signs of hope and good news so every other blog or so will be about lifting up examples I find of people doing a good thing. Today I want to start with an interesting story I heard about the Dave Matthew’s Band. I have loved this group for over 20 years but didn’t know Dave’s story. His parents
are South African and his father was a professor at UVA. He died when Dave was young so his mother decided to move back to South Africa for support where he grew up during the last breaths of Apartheid. When he was called up to serve in the South African military, he decided he did not want to support the racist government, so he returned to Charlottesville, VA instead. He then went on to make it in the music industry but not after playing in dives all across Charlottesville.
So when the white supremacists targeted Charlottesville in 2017 a friend called Dave, who was in South Africa at the time, and told him what he had witnessed. He said he had seen the riots and witnessed the death of Heather Heyer. It broke Dave’s heart. He and his band decided to respond by offering a concert for Charlottesville where he was able to bring together some amazing artists to bring healing to the community.
But that wasn’t enough. He felt called to do more. Even though he no longer lived in Charlottesville he spent some time there and his band figured out that they could impact that community best by helping improve low-income housing. So they held two special concerts at the end of their concert tour in 2018 and have dedicated part of those proceeds plus more money they are donating as well as their management company (also originated in Charlottesville) in order to earmark $5 Million to re-imagine public housing in Charlottesville. They are going to renovate all 376 housing units. Every single one of them. Plus they are going to build some new units. This funding is just the beginning of this project but how amazing it is to me that this famous person did so much more than host a benefit concert. He actually took the time to look around and offer to do something tangible and specific. To get involved. And to share some of his valuable resources. (By the way that band has given away more than $40 Million!) You can read more about this here: Dave Matthews Band.
I am struck by the observations Dave Matthews shared when he came back to America after living under a blatantly racist order of life in South Africa. Much to his disappointment he said every where he looked he was faced with racism but the difference was here, it went unnamed and by too many, unrecognized. That was over 20 years ago. So when this opportunity to do something about it came along, he did.
I am also struck by their generosity. It is not lost on me that while they have given away over $40 Million, they are still popular musicians, on tour, able to continue to generate resources. God is still blessing them while they choose to share generously with others. Blessings upon blessings. And that is a sign of God’s economy which it looks like that band has figured out and is living into. For that I am grateful.
I know most of us do not have access to $5 Million we can use to help right an injustice, or better resource a good cause, or start something new to meet an unmet need. But that doesn’t mean we are off the hook to do nothing. If nothing else, we can tell this story and share good news about the good things people are doing in our world. We can keep telling the stories until we figure it out and have one of our own to tell. Or maybe you do have a story of good news to tell. Share it with me so I can share it with others!
In the mean time, will you join me in being bearers of Good News this year? Stop focusing on the negative all around us. Focus on the positive. To focus on the examples of doing good in the midst of our brokenness. To be bearers of light and hope in the hopes that it will inspire all of us to look for our own opportunities to make a positive impact and flip the tables of something hurtful, harmful or destructive into something hopeful, life giving and Kingdom worthy.
Grace and Peace,