When I first heard the news that Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, international philanthropist, and experienced Himalayan mountaineer, was running money through his non-profit’s name for personal expenses and free travel, i was caught off guard. Then I read the news that the non-prof, Central Asia Institute, was “buying” Mortensons’s books for a grand total of $4 million when that money should have been building schools, and things got worse.
mind you I have only read Three Cups of Tea and occasionally read a blog update from CAI, but every time i heard of the work they were doing in the most remote mountains in the world, my heart leapt with joy. Greg started out building one school for a village high in the Pakistani mountains of the Karakoram…for the same villagers who saved his life after a mountaineering accident. They have now built and staffed dozens of schools all over the region. The majority of CAI’s work is in educating girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan…unheard of in that part of the world, especially for a white “infidel.” Mortenson is one of those guys that when you read of his heart for the people of central Asia, you realize the shadow of the Kingdom written all over him, even if he doesn’t know Christ at all.
Things Are Not Always What they Seem
Which brings me to this conclusion: even the best of us, and the best of our intentions, are filthy without Jesus.
As far as I know, Mortenson is not a believer [based on his writings of "enlightenment" in the Himalaya]. He, like any person in his shoes, saw an opportunity and jumped on it. Regardless of his best intentions, his depravity caught up with him…and it won the day. What appeared to be one thing – an honest non-profit educating outcast women in Muslim run countries – turned out quite the opposite.
Aren’t we the same way in our own lives? On the surface we appear to have everything together, filled with smiling children, and on the inside we’re a wreck…thinking, hoping, praying we’re fooling the on-looking world and that no one stops long enough to see the real us.
Now, I am in no way trying to downplay the good things that have been done by CAI. but will their opportunities in central Asia dwindle because of their CEO’s dishonesty, pride, and greed? probably.
What I am saying is that Greg Mortenson needs to know Jesus. He is no different from you or me. Without Jesus we may appear to be a “good person,” but we are short, way short, of “good.” we are all Greg Mortenson. all of us. we are deceptive, prideful, greedy, manipulative, and cunning.
Thankfully, we serve a God of grace and love and compassion. We serve a God who loves us in spite of all of our sin and shortcomings. Thankfully God loves Greg Mortenson, too…even if he never knows it. I pray he does.