When Richard Foster put out the idea for a 75th Birthday Experiment, our Renovaré family responded with joy. And what a thoughtful, compassionate, creative bunch you are. Thank you for making Richard’s birthday such a special one. 

A quick recap: Richard Foster just turned 75 this May. At a Renovaré meeting back in January, he suggested that if anyone was inclined to celebrate this milestone, his wish would be that they might take $75 or 75 minutes of time and give it to someone in need. Richard shared this idea on the Podcast with Nathan on March 6. We set up a toll-free line and gave out an email address so that anyone who wanted to participate could tell us what happened. Then, we sat back and waited, unsure if anyone would take us up on it. 

Well, did you ever! We ended up with ten pages of stories from all over the world—all of which can be heard on this week’s podcast. Before Nathan shares them, Richard says, I’m excited. This is the best gig — the anticipation — anticipating the present is half of the deal.” It’s wonderful to hear Richard’s chuckles over the stories and his awed wonder that, We didn’t have to create some booklet with 25 Rules,’ we just gave a suggestion!” 

And though the simple suggestion was the same for everyone, each story was unique to its teller. From gift cards to feed the homeless to sanitary supplies for needy girls … from babysitting a special needs grandchild to advocating for the medical care of a neighbor … from refinishing furniture to sell on behalf of the needy in Haiti to buying a pair of eyeglasses for a Muslim chief in Senegal … and on and on. Your acts of compassion and love spanned the globe. 

Also, be sure to listen for the (hilarious) story of how Richard’s dream of having a building named after him has finally come true! 

After hearing the last story Richard commented, Aren’t those lovely? Just the sense of getting out of ourselves’ and becoming aware of your surroundings and people around you — people were very creative! It sounded like they had a good time with it all. And what it does is enlarge our capacity for compassion — that’s one of the great values of this kind of exercise — it sort of expands our world and our ability to embrace people.”

Thank you for embracing this experiment, Renovaré family! And thank you, too, for the words of love and appreciation for Richard that so many of you sent in along with your stories. Richard heard them with gratitude and remarked, We thank the Lord that God can take squiggles on paper and do good things.” We would only add: We thank him, too, that he can take a quirky experiment and inspire the production of such good fruit. Amen. 

Richard ended up by saying this was the best birthday gift ever.” Because of you.