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“Love Does”—A Lesson from Jim Gash

By February 22, 2016December 16th, 2019Uganda
Professor Jim Gash
“What are you doing today that allows you to trust God?”  That was the challenge Jim Gash, Professor at Pepperdine Law, put forward to all of us that had the fortunate opportunity to hear him speak about his experience of answering God’s call to show that “Love Does.”  During the speaking event students heard from Jim, and the Ugandan boy, Henry, and how God used Jim’s answer to God’s calling to answer Henry’s prayer for hope.

Jim Gash graduated first in his class at Pepperdine law school in 1993, and after working in multiple areas in the legal field, is currently a professor at Pepperdine law school.  In 2009, Jim attended the Christian Legal Society National Conference with keynote speaker, Bob Goff, and upon hearing his talk urging those in the law profession to “do something” to help those in need, Jim decided it was time to answer the call, but how?

Jim was very candid with us in attendance; he explained that his preferred method of “doing something” was the call to action of Sally Struthers television—send money.  But in 2010, his reluctance subsided and he answered God’s call, saying, “Here I am Lord, send me.”  What Jim did not know was that answering the call to go and do something was the answer to years of prayers by a young boy in Uganda named, Henry who had been sitting in prison in Uganda for over a year and a half for two murders that he did not commit.

When Jim arrived at the prison in Uganda, Henry remembers being filled with joy.  He recalls his mother always telling him that nothing lasts forever, except the Word of God.  Seeing Jim, Henry said he saw “hope” coming and he knew that God had heard his prayers and was answering them. Indeed, God was showing up in Henry’s life.  Because of Jim, both murder charges were dropped and Henry was finally free after about two years of wrongful imprisonment. Today, Henry is in medical school studying to be a cardiologist.

After Jim’s flagship trip to Uganda, he was approached by senior members of the Judiciary in Uganda asking for help to make structural changes to their judicial system.  They would ask him to move to Uganda and help set up an entirely different and more efficient criminal justice system, and in 2012, Jim and his family would make the move to Uganda.

Moving to Uganda and “doing something” made a huge transformation in Jim’s life on his ability to trust control of his life to God.  Jim said he had successfully “written” his own story for over 40 years, but when he finally said, “Okay God, you write the story,” everything changed.

Jim’s story of answering God’s call for us to “go” and “do” can be scary to hear.  Jim expressed that what stops people from “doing” is not a fear of failure, but a fear of success.  Because, deep down we know that if we succeed at what God has called us to do, nothing will ever be the same again.  For “type-A” law students, the idea of all our carefully thought out plans being thrown out the window for something entirely new, that we most likely have little experience or knowledge in, can make us apprehensive.

So, what of Jim’s challenge to us to answer the question, “What are we doing today that allows us to trust God?”  For some, I think they can see themselves in Jim’s testimony regarding his reluctance to be the one to “go” and “do.”  But I also think there are others, such as myself, that want to “go” and “do,” but see so many areas of need in the world that the thought of where to start is itself scary.  Whichever category you see yourself in, remember we are all called to trust in God alone and lean not on our own understanding (yes, I understand, incredibly hard for law students to actually do).  The “going” and “doing” will be different for every person, but asking ourselves Jim’s question on a consistent basis may help us see ways in which we are not answering God’s call to us.  If there is nothing in my life that allows for me to put my trust in God, there is too much “I” and not enough “He.”

Jim answered God’s call to “go,” and he met Henry, whom opened his eyes to the work God had for him to do.  When Jim went to Uganda, it was only to help a few boys held in prison without due process of law. And indeed, Jim’s work literally “set the captives free.” But God did not stop there. God used Jim to transform an entire criminal justice system by implementing plea bargaining. This change will literally affects thousands of lives by moving cases through the docket and enabling those who are truly innocent to have trial dates set quickly and those are guilty to accept a plea and serve their time, rather than languishing in prison for years just to wait for a trial.

God may be calling you to impact one person or an entire country, and either one of those scenarios may frighten you.  To follow God’s calling, we must leave behind our own plans and potentially change our definition of what “do something” means in our lives.

by Debbie Stieglitz


  • Reject says:

    Thank you for the inspiration. I will add that this reluctance to lean not on our own understanding is pervasive across the human spectrum; I certainly stand guilty.

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