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Walking Through Samaria

Jun 16, 2021

Meet Rich Stearns. He’s the former and longest-serving president of World Vision U.S., an organization committed to human transformation, seeking justice and bearing witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God. After 20 years as its president, and now as its president emeritus, Stearns has authored a book, “Lead Like It Matters to God.” In it, the Bellevue, Wash., resident expands upon 17 crucial values that transform leaders and their organizations.


He and his wife, Reneé, are the parents of five children and grandparents of six. Stearns holds a B.A. in neurobiology from Cornell University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined World Vision to answer God’s call on his life, forsaking a corporate career that included CEO roles at Lenox and Parker Brothers Games.


That choice was hardly easy, one borne of what he calls “grudging obedience,” but few walking in the spirit of the Good Samaritan find avenues of convenience. His became a course of sacrifice and surrender to God, a walk steeped in accountability to the One to Whom we must all answer. It led to his direct involvement in combatting HIV/AIDS in Africa, where more than 13 million children have been left orphaned by that plague.


As Stearns can attest, God honors even grudging obedience.


“What are the things that are going to matter to God when you stand before Him on that day?” he asks. “It’s going to have very little to do with the business you were in or the profession you’ve chosen. It’s going to be about how you treated the people entrusted to your care, the people that you led. It’s going to be about the human beings around you during this whole career you’ve chosen, and how you helped them to flourish.”