A Pew Research study showed that 71% of adults believe it is very important for a man to be able to support a family financially in order to be a good husband. However, being "caring and compassionate" ranked as the top answer with 86% of people saying this was the most important trait. In his new book, Become a Provider: Discover the Joy of Blessing and Protecting Others, author and entrepreneur Justin Thomas broadens the definition of providing for others. His book details the tragic circumstances that led to his own personal journey of learning what it means to be a Biblical provider.
"My dad died suddenly a couple of years ago and it shook me to my core," says Thomas. "As a young father, I wanted to be sure to carry on his legacy and try to do things the correct way. I began to dig deep into what being a provider truly meant through prayer, self-experimentation, reflecting on my dad's life and studying scripture."
Thomas details in his book what he discovered to be eight habits of a provider that require "intentional and regular exercise." He began to start teaching and training other men to form these habits which he details on "The Provider Wheel." He co-founded the CL Thomas Fellowship, named after his father, which now organizes and oversees regular groups meetings-for both men and women- near his hometown of Durham, North Carolina and even in Dublin, Ireland.
"Fellowship groups are led by a mentor," says Thomas. "The mentor facilitates monthly meetings with assigned readings, scripture memorization, and 'provider challenges' to encourage new and positive behavior changes for the participants. In addition, the fellowship offers a growing library of recorded interviews from experts in different areas of the Provider Wheel. We are building a community of people from all walks of life who strive to help one another become better providers. One of the most exciting new additions is that my wife, Amy Thomas, is now leading a women's CL Thomas Fellowship group.
The women's group takes the same Provider Wheel and calling to bless and protect others through the unique perspective and gifts that God has placed on their lives as women."
"Become a Provider" also introduces the Bless and Protect 2x2 matrix to help readers identify where they are today and what traits to work on in order to become a better provider. The four quadrants are Selfish, Santa, Soldier, and Shepherd (Provider).
"At the beginning of my provider journey I evaluated my own life and realized I was low in both Blessing and Protecting and in the 'Selfish quadrant.' I would then overcompensate, moving into the Santa and then the Soldier quadrant before finding the balance point of demonstrating both a generous hand of blessing and the guiding hand of a protector."
Thomas hopes the book becomes a resource for individuals, churches and organizations who want to create an atmosphere where people can mature into lifestyles that are focused on serving those around them.
"Shortly before my dad died, he took my brother and me to a weekend getaway and told us things about his life we never knew," says Thomas. "I was stunned about some of the things he shared, but it made me appreciate my father on a whole new level. Pop took responsibility for his biggest mistakes in a way that hardly any man would. He didn't do it perfectly, but he gave it all he had. The heart of being a provider is serving others, and not just yourself. It's not only a high bar, it's a pull up bar that you have to reach for again and again. And I have an unrelenting belief that Jesus, the great Shepherd, holds each of us up to get over that bar when we need a spotter."
About the author:
Justin Thomas is the co-founder of the C.L. Thomas Fellowship, a nonprofit that coaches men and women to become providers based on a biblical worldview. He is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach and is COO of EHOP Health, a chronic disease reversal company. He previously served as CEO of CrossComm, a nationally-recognized app development studio, and was named "MBA Student of the Year" at Ireland's leading business school. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his wife and family. Visit .