Join us today for an interview with James H. Belt author of Hope Realized...

This is an interview I had with business owner, missionary, and author James Belt.  

Inn today’s interview I interview James H. Belt.  I ask James about his journey to writing Hope Realized.  I also ask James about the links he sees between hope, faith, and poverty.  James also shares with you how we can view poverty differently and make a real difference in poverty.

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 1276: Interview with business owner, missionary, and author of Hope Realized, James Belt

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on episode 1,276 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:12] James H. Belt: I'm James Belt. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to learn to spread real. And help for poverty is key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this The Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend Scott To try to understand your own story. How all in hope has played a role in your life. And that might help you better understand how it can play a role in someone else's life. And then to understand what do I really believe about poverty and the people that are in poverty?

[00:00:52] Cuz that might, you might realize I believe they're hopeless. And thinking about that and why and changing that perspective [00:01:00] is pretty, I.

[00:01:00] Scott Maderer: Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling.

[00:01:16] In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the.

[00:01:34] In today's interview, I interview James H Belt. I asked James about his journey to writing the book Hope Realized. I also asked James about the links he sees between Hope, faith, and Poverty. And James also shares with you how we can view poverty differently and make a real difference in. Alleviate poverty.

[00:01:58] One reason I like to bring you great [00:02:00] interviews like the one you're gonna hear today is because of the power in learning from others. Another great way to learn from others is through reading books. But if you're like most people today, you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read, and that's why today's podcast is brought to you by Audible.

[00:02:19] Go to inspired to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial. , there's over 180,000 titles to choose from, and instead of reading, you can listen your way to learn from some of the greatest minds out there. That's inspired to get your free trial and listen to great books the same way you're listening to this podcast.

[00:02:46] James H Belt is the second generation owner and president of Belt Enterprises, Inc. He's a church leader and a missionary. He's traveled to Nicaragua back in 2007, where he witnessed the realities of poverty [00:03:00] firsthand, his experience and his commitment to helping others. Thrive has inspired his hope-filled world changing approach to fighting poverty, one of the world's biggest problems while living in Nicaragua.

[00:03:14] For three years, James focused on community and small business development as the field director for Nico Works, an organization that creates community led change to build a hopeful, present and future for the vulnerable in nicar. He helped develop Nika Bike Shop, a pre-owned bike retailer, Inua, as well as fruit.

[00:03:35] Avera, a commercial agricultural operation in Vera Cruz. He continues to work with Nika Works and currently serves on their management team. He's a graduate of Townsend University and Jane lives in Maryland with his wife Jennifer, his two children, his two dogs, and his two cats. When he is not busy volunteering, he endures traveling.

[00:03:56] And playing sports. Welcome to the show, James.

[00:03:58] James H. Belt: Thanks so much, Scott. It's [00:04:00] great to be here.

[00:04:01] Scott Maderer: Absolutely. So I talked a little bit in the intro about your journey and you had an interesting path with a couple of different things that came up, but how did your path and your journey lead you to the message that now you're out promoting and sharing?

[00:04:19] James H. Belt: Sure. That's a great question. Yeah. I grew up in a family. Generally had a faith my parents really came to the Lord, came to meet Christ when I was probably about 10, but, Been engaged in that for a long time. At some point our church decided to go to Nicaragua and my parents went along.

[00:04:42] I had just graduated college, got into the financial advising business actually despite the fact that I'd grown up in a family business and I I decided that wasn't something I wanted to do necessarily. Initially I wanted to be the guy that sent the check to. To the [00:05:00] missionary or the foundation, not the guy that went to the place.

[00:05:04] And I was like, I'm okay, but of course my family, all of them went actually coaxed me along. And a year later they they dragged me with them to, to Nicaragua. And when I got there over, we started going about every six months to a year with an organ organization called Orphan Network and just fell in.

[00:05:23] With the country. Still never expected to move there. But that, that's how I started to go down that road. And as I became more exposed to Nicaragua, to the people and I started to turn poverty from a picture on TV or. An idea or a Catholic Charities commercial maybe.

[00:05:44] And put some names behind it like Maria Jose Sue. I started to ask the question why are they in the same spot? Or why are, I should say, why aren't they in the same spot I am? Why are they called in poverty? They seem just as intelligent as I am. But they they're [00:06:00] stuck.

[00:06:01] And so that began a journey. For me of exploring that ended up with me living in Nicaragua for three years doing community and economic development. And through that I started to see that the byproducts of poverty that we often think of hunger homelessness you could go down the list.

[00:06:20] Many of them are actually Fed by something much deeper that I call the life hopelessness. And that's what I started to realize that it was certainly the byproducts are something that needs to be addressed, but ultimately if we wanna solve poverty, we have to down to the roots and hope really being the key there and you we can get into that more, but that's how I started to get to the place where I am of just looking at people's lives and saying they're just like me. Why don't they have the same opportunity as I do? And it took me down that journey that made me realize some things about.

[00:06:53] So a

[00:06:53] Scott Maderer: couple of things came to mind while you were talking, first off. I think a lot of people have that feeling [00:07:00] of I wanna support mission work, but I don't necessarily want to go, yeah. What, talk more about that. You kinda got your arm twisted a little bit in a nice way.

[00:07:10] I'm sure they don't literally twist your arm, but I don't know. Maybe they're family, so they could've, but I don't know if your family's like mine, mine might have literal. Sometimes only when you deserve it. So they they encourage you to go, why? Why do you think you had that mindset and then what actually shifted?

[00:07:30] You said you fell in love, but how did that shift when you got there?

[00:07:34] James H. Belt: Yeah, so I think the mindset really just came from, I actually grew up serving quite a bit. So when my. Started, especially my dad started going to church. My grandfather was actually a Methodist pastor, so my mom was in that realm most of her life.

[00:07:47] But my dad started going to church. He started serving and he would bring me along with them. So that was a part of my life. But I, as I graduated college, I jumped into financial planning and I got really excited about the idea of building my own business. [00:08:00] got focused on. Building my life for me and not so much other people necessarily.

[00:08:07] And I certainly still had the serving and the desire to, to make a difference in other people's lives. But I saw it as more of I'll do that through my my activities, my business through earning money. And not so much through going I've done that before. I don't feel called per se to make a difference in that way.

[00:08:27] And that really is probably why I just had, I had decided this is my thing right now. I don't have time for that. It's a distraction from my life. And so I went down that road. But when I started going to Nicaragua, I think part of it was just a realization that. Serving and helping other people is a part of what we're made to do.

[00:08:52] As human beings there's, there is something that you receive as you serve other people that you can't get [00:09:00] any other way. And I saw, I think that started to draw me in. And then honestly, also my background is in finance and business development to my dad really in a sense. And so I started to just become more interested in that idea of why does poverty, And why can I how can I make a difference?

[00:09:17] And I tend to be a bit of a problem solver, so I'm like I gotta figure this out, . I can't just, I can't just sit here and and watch it happen. And that's part of what really drew me. And then honestly I'll tell you one more thing. My parents decided to adopt a girl from the orphanage we were visiting.

[00:09:37] She was 15 at the time, now my sister Emily. And that allowed me the opportunity to get there a little more and to really experience life outside of just that mission trip environment. And I think that really started to draw me in more. Yeah, so it's kind of that process from just oh, this is a neat place.

[00:09:55] It's a bit of a second home. And how long did you actually live in

[00:09:59] [00:10:00] Nicaragua? Yeah, I lived in Nicaragua for three years, so from 2012 to 2015. I've been traveling there since 2007 and I still go today, a couple times a year. The pandemic has made a little more challenging and some political unrest, but anyway, I still get down there,

[00:10:14] Scott Maderer: but do still spend a good chunk of time down there, even though you, I do live there full time now and I

[00:10:19] James H. Belt: still work with Nico Works, the organization I traveled with so how did, how do you think this journey and this experience both was influenced by your faith and then influenced your faith what was that kind of feedback loop? You've touched on it some, but unpack that a little bit more.

[00:10:37] Yeah, that's a great question. Influenced by my faith. I would say that my perspective on people is that we were created by a guy that loves.

[00:10:49] And created us on purpose and for a purpose, and that we were designed to reach our God-given potential. And so that perspective that's been [00:11:00] reinforced in my life a number of times to talk a little bit about in the book by my grandfather, who was a Methodist pastor by my grandmother who helped tutor me in English.

[00:11:08] That kind of gave me that extra push gave me some practical and spiritual hope. Those things actually really influenced me to see myself that way. And then to see other people and say they're full of God-given potential, but they're unable to realize that potential for some reason.

[00:11:25] And so seeing them through that lens caused me to really explore more and try to understand more why they're in the position that they're. . And then as I started to do that I was in some ways challenged cuz you realize, poverty is pretty big and deep and.

[00:11:46] And so it started to make me ask some more questions about what is it that's really holding them captive? And that idea of hopelessness in the brokenness of this world. So that started to shape my faith journey in saying [00:12:00] that if we really wanna address issues as big as poverty, we have to look at those deep rooted issues of hopelessness and brokenness that go back to just the ultimate brokenness that we have in our.

[00:12:12] And in some ways that took me on a journey that was challenging, but also has made me more excited about living out my faith, and so it's brought some vibrancy as I've started to serve more and get engaged and helping other people and see lives changed.

[00:12:27] By the message that there is spiritual hope, and that by providing a practical hope, opportunity, you can see life change. It just reminds me, gosh, this is the way we were created to, to work. And when you see it happen, it gets you really excited. So really it's it's made me more excited about my faith in anyways.

[00:12:44] Scott Maderer: I wanted to touch on that idea of poverty being really big. And of course the, in the Bible know, Matthew, mark, Deuteronomy Jesus says the poor will be with us. There's different passages, both old and New [00:13:00] Testament that refer to poverty as being.

[00:13:02] Always there will always be there or is this large kind of problem. You just said yourself poverty is a humongous issue. How do you see,

[00:13:13] you

[00:13:13] Scott Maderer: know, that relationship between what we're called as people of faith to do towards alleviating this sort of issue and yet this kind of idea of, but this is this huge issue.

[00:13:27] Has always been with us at some level.

[00:13:29] James H. Belt: Yeah, that's a great question. I love it. It's a question I actually address specifically in, in my book in Hope Realized. Obviously it says the poor will always be with us. And I think oftentimes we see that as prescriptive in a sense. That that it was prophetic saying the poor will always be with you.

[00:13:48] Why bother doing anything? Exactly. It could be demotivating if we look at it that way. Yeah, I'll give some money or I'll feed somebody because you. They need it or I don't wanna see [00:14:00] them suffer, but nothing's actually ever going to change. They're gonna be in that position, which in some ways that helps to reinforce hopelessness and that lie.

[00:14:08] But I believe it was more observational. So it was an observation that of the reality that we live in a broken world and that despite the fact that what I believe, what I call all in hope, so spiritual and practical hope together, I believe that that can. Those situations that can bring change in impoverished communities, people nations.

[00:14:32] But that doesn't mean that everyone is going to grab onto that because of the brokenness in this world that there's still going to be people that for whatever reason, either. Aren't given the opportunity or don't grab onto the opportunity just because of the brokenness we have around us.

[00:14:50] And the reality is we're always going to have some level of poverty. Do I think it needs to be where we are today? No, I don't. I think that doesn't have to be the extreme poverty we see today [00:15:00] and people living on that razor thin edge When a pandemic happens it throws more people in.

[00:15:04] There was. By the World Bank that 150 million people were on the edge of going right back into extreme poverty at the beginning of the pandemic. And I don't think it has to be that way. Do I think poverty will exist? Yes. But I do think there is an answer to it. I just don't know that everyone will grab onto that answer.

[00:15:23] So I'm

[00:15:23] Scott Maderer: gonna kind ask you a question. I'm a firm believer in defining our terms and we've been talking a lot about poverty. How do you define that word?

[00:15:33] James H. Belt: Yeah. So I think that it could be defined multiple ways in a sense. So I would say that it is practical in a sense. So it's the, that's what we see often, right?

[00:15:45] It's the the lack of food. It's the lack of a job. It's the lack of healthcare, lack of education. We could go down the list. So it's that lack of that practical or tangible thing. It's spiritual. [00:16:00] Seeing ourselves as hopeless or destined for a life of less than. So we can, and in some ways we can be impoverished without practical poverty in that way, of course.

[00:16:10] But that obviously in communities where both those things are present. It can be structural infrastructure. So you know, that tends to, in places like Nicaragua, where the infrastructure also is affected by poverty. That infrastructure actually reinforces the practical side of it, at least on the poverty side.

[00:16:27] It could go from there. Emotional a lack of self worth affecting your ability to interact with others. But ultimately, I guess the word that would come to mind too is I think of, if I were to say what is thriving and what are we created for? It's wholeness.

[00:16:45] And so in some senses, poverty is that lack of wholeness. It's not having what ultimately, if things were the way they ought to be, we would have, and so that reinforces this brokenness and creates poverty. [00:17:00] Okay.

[00:17:01] Scott Maderer: Yeah I like that. The idea of because again, it's that idea of coming.

[00:17:07] Out of the brokenness of a relationship really at some level, that then creates the material as well as , exactly. Emotional lacking that we would call poverty. Sure, yeah. So how do you see the connection and how do you unpack that connection in your book between. Things like faith, hope, poverty you what is the central premise that you're trying to get across with hope realized?

[00:17:36] James H. Belt: Sure. Yeah. Thank you for asking. I would say that basically it's getting a better understanding of poverty. So what is poverty? What is it that feeds it? So we talked a little bit about that a little bit ago. It's like an iceberg, if you to think about it that way. So the byproducts, the 10% we see are fed by the 90% below the surface, which I talk about as the lie of hopelessness.

[00:17:59] [00:18:00] So it's a sense of both practical and spiritual hopelessness, a lack of a real opportunity and a a damage or A broken identity. And so that, that concept or that that brokenness, that hopelessness is what feeds the byproducts we often see. And I call it the live hopelessness because I ultimately don't think anyone is truly hopeless.

[00:18:23] If those things are present, that hopelessness can be overcome. But we buy into the lie, both the impoverished and the people that are on the outside looking in. If we truly want to address that lie of hopelessness, that brokenness and the poverty that it creates, we have to dig deep down and cut out the roots.

[00:18:43] And that's where I talk about reimagining hope. So oftentimes we think of the word hope. When we think of a wishy-washy feeling I hope my team wins the game. The NFL's about to start, and I'm a Ravens fan, so I hope the Ravens win. Or I hope I pass the test. And we often think of it that way, but I [00:19:00] talk about hope in a foundational.

[00:19:02] Something that's based on something real and foundational person, and the belief that we are created for something more. And that it's actually not just this wishy-washy feeling. It's a I say hope is a noun. It's a thing. something we can grab onto and that I talk about in a practical, in a spiritual sense so practical hope I.

[00:19:24] In a lot of ways is a real opportunity. So that can look different. That could be resources, that could be training, that could be a lot of things. And then spiritual a reframed identity. And so seeing yourself as created on purpose and for a purpose that you were creative, God-given potential.

[00:19:41] And so when I talk about hope, I talk about those two prongs of hope as all in hope, and that if we want to dig out that root, that feeds poverty, It requires us to inject all in hope into the situation, not one or the other. Both. And that when we do that's where real change starts to happen. And [00:20:00] with a reframed identity, people are able to take advantage of the real opportunity they're given. And you can see life change happen in a really neat way. Not just the Nicaragua, but really anywhere where poverty rears its head. And it. Yeah, I think it's important to recognize that there's the way you're framing it, there's two sides to that equation.

[00:20:20] Scott Maderer: There's both the emotional side as well as the practical side. Yes. And it's not enough to just help with either in other words, cuz I, I know of situations where people have come in to help materially in a situation, but actually cause damage. Yes. Then holds the and vice versa.

[00:20:40] I think if you come in and you. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Yeah. I'm not giving you any practical that's also it's like I love you and thank you, but that's not enough. There's gotta be more. It's gotta be both sides of that equation. That's a great point.

[00:20:59] Yeah. [00:21:00] Yeah I think it was in Africa, they came in and they were I think it was Nike or one of the other. Companies was coming in, giving t-shirts to clothing. Yeah. And then what they ended up doing is destroying the local people that were making clothing because here's all this clothing for free.

[00:21:18] And then when they realized what was happening, it was like, oh wait, that's not what we intended. That was Yeah. That happens

[00:21:24] James H. Belt: a bit. Quite a bit. Yeah. That actually, there's a really good book. Called When Helping Hurts. talk a lot about that and this idea of paternalism even of basically creating, I know what's better for you, creating dependency.

[00:21:36] Yeah. And I know what's better for you. And then on the other side, like you said I write in the book about how it'd be like saying just on the spiritual side it's like saying I have a broken arm or somebody telling you they have a broken arm, and then you're like, I'll pray for you.

[00:21:49] And, but you're like, but you actually have the cast in your hand. You can fix my arm. I'm just gonna pray for you. There's an

[00:21:55] Scott Maderer: x-ray machine right there.

[00:21:57] James H. Belt: You're an X-ray. Exactly. You're [00:22:00] like, you have the resources, buddy. Yeah. And I think it's consistent with what Jesus did. He'd often right.

[00:22:06] He'd address both issues.

[00:22:07] Scott Maderer: And and that's again again, we're both people of faith. That's not saying that there is no power in prayer, and that's not saying that prayer is not a good activity. It's. There probably should be some other activity too, exactly. If that makes sense.

[00:22:22] James H. Belt: So yeah, oftentimes we separate the two and it I don't think that's the way it's supposed to be. And let's talk about that. Yeah. I think a lot of Christians do feel called to, to help in some way, whether it's in their own community, whether it's overseas, whatever that might look like.

[00:22:37] Scott Maderer: Sure. To help with alleviating poverty, but how can people get past that idea of. Going back to the way you felt at the beginning writing a check, giving money, or even showing up and giving time and energy, and what are some of the things that we can do to really dig in and start providing that two pronged real [00:23:00] hope that you're talking about?

[00:23:01] James H. Belt: Yeah, Yeah. I think honestly a great place to start is I say to get curious. To try to understand your own story, how all in hope has played a role in your life. And that might help you better understand how it can play a role in someone else's life. And then to understand what do I really believe about poverty and the people that are in poverty?

[00:23:18] Because that might, you might realize I believe they're hopeless. And thinking about that and why and changing that perspective is pretty important. Getting connected is a great way to, to do it. Looking at and saying what organizations or is there someone that maybe in my sphere of influence is making a difference?

[00:23:39] And I skipped one step before that. That's probably better to do before getting connected. And that is, To look and say, okay, what do I have to offer? What do I bring to the table? That was a question I had actually. So when I went down, we were working in orphanage and it was great and I was working with kids, but I'm like, I have a finance background.

[00:23:56] I'm a business person. What exactly do I have to bring to the table in this situation? [00:24:00] And what I realized was I had a lot I just had to figure out the right way of taking what I have, what I bring to the table, and making a difference. Under. Idea of practical and spiritual hope, making a difference in people's lives.

[00:24:12] So saying, okay, what what do I have to offer? How can I make a difference? And then maybe looking and saying, okay is someone else doing something where I can come alongside them and I can bring what I have to offer my gifts? Sometimes it is resources, sometimes it is money and things.

[00:24:27] That's what I, so that's necessary in this battle. Sure. As well. And getting connected. And then I like to say, and then just take a step it doesn't have to be my, It didn't start with moving to Nicaragua. It started with going, honestly, it started with going down to Baltimore City with my dad and and visiting a place called the Helping Out Mission that is a spiritual recovery program and just serving meals and things of that sort.

[00:24:50] But take one step figure out what it is you're gifted at and just take that one step. And when you take that one step forward and you keep following those steps, you never know where [00:25:00] that journey might end. Biggest thing is though don't let the bigness of poverty and you are concerned that maybe you don't have anything to offer.

[00:25:08] Stop you from getting engaged. You do have something to offer. And and I can tell you it's not only providing and life changing for the person that you're serving, but it is for you as well. Do you

[00:25:19] Scott Maderer: think that's, I guess on our side on, on the side of the person that maybe does want to go help.

[00:25:29] I think the hope equation applies there too. In that I think you said understand what you believe about poverty. I know people that believe anyone who's poor deserves it. They maybe don't say it that way out loud, but that's really what they believe.

[00:25:44] When you talk to 'em or they could just pull themselves up by their bootstraps that kind of, of feeling. How do you think our side of hope affects how we work with and deal with [00:26:00] with that issue of poverty?

[00:26:02] James H. Belt: I think a lot. Yeah. I think that oftentimes, That's why I think it's important to dig in and say, What do you believe about yourself and what do you believe about the people that are in poverty?

[00:26:12] Because we often treat people in the way we perceive them. And if we believe that hey, they just need to work harder, or they need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, that may be true. I'm not saying that's ever, that's never true. But if we say that's the only thing, that's the only reason.

[00:26:28] It's their choices, or it's X or Y. That causes it. We have a kind of a lack of hope for them as well. So we're reinforcing the lack of hope they have by saying they're hopeless basically. And and then what I find is, and then we often think they're over there and they're Maybe we're driving down the street.

[00:26:46] This is probably the easiest one for everybody to recognize. And we see the guy, my friend Tim says flying a sign. He's been working with home in a homeless ministry for years and that's what he calls it. And so we see the guy with the sign on the side of the road and we're we try to just kind hungry.

[00:26:59] Please help. [00:27:00] We're like I don't even wanna look at him. And that's what we do because we're like that guy's kind of stuck and he is hopeless and he is making bad choices, and we live that way instead of engaging. The reality is the more we do that the more hopelessness pervades, right?

[00:27:14] And exists and then ultimately the more hopeless we feel because we see it and it is gosh, poverty seems huge. What can we really do about it? And it can create a sense of hopelessness in us. And for some people maybe that really feel like, I wanna make a difference, but I don't even know if I can, they might feel hopeless because they're like, can I really do anything?

[00:27:35] Can I really do anything with my life? Do I have anything really to offer? And we buy into the same live hopelessness as the person in poverty, and that prevents a lot of people, I believe, from getting. From getting engaged in a way that could really make a difference. So I and it

[00:27:51] Scott Maderer: reinforces the cycle.

[00:27:52] It does. It, it completely it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of if both sides are not believing there's hope, then nobody [00:28:00] does

[00:28:00] James H. Belt: anything. And actually, not to cut you off at all, but your example of Nike is a great example of that might unconsciously I'm not, and I'm not, I don't know that I'm not an insider there, but unconsciously we often.

[00:28:14] There's no real hope for them to move beyond their life. Now, I just need to give them to help them subsist to help them survive instead of saying how could we actually make a difference and believe in their God-given potential that there is hope for them.

[00:28:31] And so we often think of, okay, I'm just gonna give them, I'm gonna give a handout and look, there's situations where that's necessary. But you know that if that's the ongoing process it's ultimately reinforcing, again, that hopelessness, right?

[00:28:43] Scott Maderer: And it creates dependency as opposed.

[00:28:47] Icy . Dependency a word. It should be anyway. Yeah, it is now .

[00:28:53] James H. Belt: I think we're in the age of, you can make your own words off. That's ok. I do it all the time. .

[00:28:58] Scott Maderer: But yeah, the, [00:29:00] I guess too I think I'm hearing in here too that anytime you talked about the iceberg, the 10% we see and the 90% we don't.

[00:29:08] I think anytime you're dealing with a situation like poverty, they're if you think you have the answer it is probably more complex than that, yeah. Whether again money. Part of the equation, but it's not the whole answer. Spiritual growth is part of the answer, but it's not the whole an for sure all of these different pieces going on.

[00:29:29] Like you said, are there some people that maybe, yeah, you, they just need to learn how to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and they need that kind of encouragement and accountability and a little, sure there are, but there's also folks that, that's not the truth. As well. Yeah. And so treating it as one size fits all is probably going.

[00:29:45] Not be rich enough to really help if is that

[00:29:50] James H. Belt: Exactly. Yeah. There's not a silver bullet in that way and it's messy. And I'll just say one thing that I should have said before is that when I say spiritual and practical, it doesn't mean that as you get engaged, [00:30:00] you have to bring all of that to the table.

[00:30:02] It's actually harmful if you think you're the only one that has the answer. We all need to be connected. That's a challenge too in, in mission work and ministries or even anything really is getting past our pride in saying, let's work together and bring what we do best.

[00:30:18] Scott Maderer: And the folks on the receiving end need to be. Engaged in the process as well. Exactly. Yeah. Great point. Otherwise, you get the paternalism thing of let us come in and fix your problem. It's like that I don't know about anybody else, but that doesn't work when people do that to me, so I did a push back against,

[00:30:38] James H. Belt: that doesn't work for my three and five year old.

[00:30:40] Sometimes either. , no,

[00:30:41] Scott Maderer: exactly. That starts young , hey, for that matter. Sometimes it definit. Work when they're six months old and you really do know what's better for 'em. , right? It's no, really, you need to go to sleep

[00:30:54] James H. Belt: now, please. Exactly. .

[00:30:56] Scott Maderer: So anyway so I, but I've got a few [00:31:00] questions that I like to ask everybody, but before I go there, is there anything else about the book that you'd like to share?

[00:31:08] James H. Belt: Yeah I think we covered a lot of it, to be honest with you, but more than anything, my hope is that people. Read the book read Hope Realized, and find more hope for the people that the person that's in poverty and in turn find more hope for themselves. Cuz I think when we find more hope for the people in poverty and realize that we can make a difference, man, that energizes people.

[00:31:30] And and that would be my hope, is that I believe that you whoever you're, whoever you are that's listening, you have something to offer to someone. And hopefully this is an encouragement in that.

[00:31:41] Scott Maderer: Of course my brand is inspired stewardship, and that's the lens I run things through is this idea of stewardship.

[00:31:47] And let kinda, like earlier when I asked you to define poverty, I've discovered that's one of those words that people use it all the time, but everybody means something different by it. Yeah. So when you hear the word stewardship, what does that word mean to you [00:32:00] and what impact does that understanding have on

[00:32:02] James H. Belt: you?

[00:32:03] That's a great question. When I started to think about the word stewardship it's interesting. So when I moved back from Nicaragua, I jumped back into my family business actually, and running a business and doing mission work in Nicaragua. There's a lot of similarities, but there are a lot of differences.

[00:32:20] And so I started to ask myself why am I doing this? It can't just be about the business. And what I came to realize is that I was stewarding. An asset or something that I could use to make a difference in someone else's life. So I guess in some ways, when I think of stewardship, I think of using whatever we're given whatever resources were afforded to to their maximum potential.

[00:32:44] And saying, okay, I'm gonna take full advantage of whatever resource I have and treat it as something that can make a difference. So it. The word stewardship it's it's not mine per se, but it is mine to do [00:33:00] something with, and that's the way I think of maximizing that potential.

[00:33:03] And using it to make a difference. You've been given it for a reason like you could feel guilty sometimes for what you've been given, but ultimately that's not helpful. It's more helpful to say how can I use it to make a. So this is

[00:33:17] Scott Maderer: my favorite question. If I invented this magic machine and I was able to pluck you from the chair where you sit today and transport you magically into the future, 150, 200 years, and through the power of this machine, you were able to look back on your whole life and see all of the connections, all of the ripples, all of the impacts you've left behind, what impact do you hope you've left behind in the world?

[00:33:42] James H. Belt: Yeah, that's a great question. I would say that I've planted a Tree of hope. I talk a lot in the book and I actually reference, there's a Greek proverb that says, society will grow great. When men plant trees under who shade, they'll never sit. [00:34:00] I probably butchered it a little bit, but that's basically the idea and so that I was able to make a difference and allow people to see.

[00:34:08] Situations like poverty that we often think of as hopeless, aren't hopeless. And in that, that I've engaged people and that 150 years from now poverty. It doesn't look like it does today, that people are engaged and excited and that everyone is more hopeful because of it, that everyone starts to see themselves as full of God-given potential.

[00:34:31] And and that it would be, I believe I'm just planting a seed and I may never see what happens. So it's a great question because I think it is, it does take a while, but I would, that would be my hope that when I leave here we live in a more hopeful.

[00:34:49] Scott Maderer: So as we close out the year and get to the end of the year what's on the roadmap? What's coming next for you as you continue on this journey?

[00:34:58] James H. Belt: Yeah, I would just say that [00:35:00] I hope I get more opportunities to share this message of hope and then more opportunities to engage. And I'm still working with Nico Works.

[00:35:07] I'm excited for what we're doing in Nicaragua. I am excited to continue that work to get even more engaged there and to look for more opportunities to, to inspire other people to make a difference in the lives of others by sharing with people like you, Scott, and getting the word out there about the book.

[00:35:26] So the more I can do to ultimately to help other people believe that one, they can make a difference and that there's hope for the people that we often think of as hopeless that excites me.

[00:35:37] Scott Maderer: Absolutely. So you can find out more about James and his book and the work that he does

[00:35:46] Of course, I'll have links to that over in the show notes as well. James, is there anything else you'd like to share with the listener?

[00:35:52] James H. Belt: Sure, yeah. I'd love for you to check out my book, hope Realized. I think it will provide you with. A lot of [00:36:00] hope for yourself, but also a lot of hope for others, and how you can make a difference in their lives.

[00:36:03] And actually, one big step you can take when you buy the book, 50% of the royalties actually go towards ni EcoWorks. And so it's one step you can take to bring hope to others. Love for you to check it out available Amazon, Barnes, wherever you find your books.

[00:36:18] Scott Maderer: Thank you. Absolutely. Thank you.

[00:36:26] Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this please do us a favor. Go over to inspired

[00:36:52] Rate all one word, iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a [00:37:00] rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in. Until next time, invest your time, your talent, and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.

In today's episode, I ask James about:

  • His journey to writing Hope Realized... 
  • The links he sees between hope, faith, and poverty...
  • How we can view poverty differently and make a real difference in poverty...
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

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Try to understand your own story and how hope has played a roll in your own life and how it may play a role in others lives. – James Belt

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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