Journal Entry

Kevin Cathey

Apple Engineer

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Illustration by John-Mark Warkentin

Journal Entry

Kevin Cathey

Apple Engineer

10 short sound bites from Kevin about his thoughts and discoveries on living out his calling as a Gospel Patron.


10 short sound bites from Kevin about his thoughts and discoveries on living out his calling as a Gospel Patron.


01

Hello, I’m…

Kevin Cathey. Computers have always fascinated me. I remember getting my first computer when I was 9 and soon after starting my own software business. My parents modeled generosity: they used their gifts to enable me to develop mine. In high school, I met this really amazing girl, and 6 years later, she become my beloved wife. In college, Apple came to my campus. A friend told me "you'll never get a job there, but the interview would be good practice." Six months later, only by God's grace and providence, I walked through Apple's front doors as an employee. My wife and I have been on an incredible journey of watching God's generosity unfold in the Silicon Valley.

02

Giving

As a high school punk with a software business, God started the long process of teaching me that the money I was making was not for me, but a resource God was entrusting me with. It started with small monthly gifts to a local Christian radio station. I remember the incredible initial joy of giving, but it felt like a duty. The purpose was my own righteousness. Starting with that small seed, God has been teaching me that generosity is not a giving away, because that would imply that I am the center or that I'm losing something. Instead, generosity is a giving towards the work of a loving King and His Kingdom. I get to use my gifts to enable others to use theirs.

03

God’s Generosity

I'm often tempted to think that God's generosity is most evident in physical blessings. But God changed this perspective when we adopted our son from Korea. Earthly adoption is a reflection of God's spiritual adoption. At great cost, God sought me out. With all my scars and sickness, God said, "I want him to be my child". Though our son initially pushed us away, now he joyfully dances around our home, tries to imitate everything we do, and affectionately calls us "Appa" and "Umma". Similarly, God's generosity is best illustrated in that He gave everything so I can dance joyfully around His home and grow to be like Him.

04

Dangers of Wealth

The love of money is insidiously subtle. On one hand, envy and discontentment in seemingly harmless things spreads through everything, and ultimately I become my own god. I make myself an owner instead of a steward. Generosity combats this cancer, but even generosity can be my snare. I start thinking I'm in control of making the money I need to give away in the way I want. I justify the love of money for the sake of self-righteous generosity. I need to daily, no hourly, turn to listen to God's guidance and set my dependence on Him.

05

Treasuring Jesus

I thought stewardship was only the three "T's": time, treasure, and talent. But there's a fourth "T" that Paul tells us about: "carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you." (2 Tim 1:14) While every believer has a different combination of those three "T"'s, all of us share the truth of the undeserved grace of Christ. I don't need money in my bank account, space on my calendar, or a stunning skill set to be a radically generous person. I just need to treasure Christ in the truth of the Gospel, and as He transforms my heart, that truth overflows and I can't help but share boldly & freely with everyone, trusting God will use my words and actions to make His name famous in every nation, every office in my workplace, every home on my street, and in every heart of my household.

06

I Wish I Knew…

At the start of my giving journey, I thought the most important lessons of giving were in the logistics. How can I most effectively give my paycheck, or stock, etc? But focusing on logistics only fed lifeless giving. Generosity came alive when it went from writing a check in isolation to eternally focused, joyful partnerships between siblings in Christ. I get to focus on sharing a mission with a few people by praying knowledgeably for them, giving to their specific needs, and getting to visit and serve them intentionally.

07

My Routine

Here's how my wife and I pray knowledgeably, give specifically, and serve our ministry partners intentionally. We Skype monthly, use messaging apps to communicate throughout the week, and have a list of constantly updated prayer requests. Instead of just writing a blanket check for the month, we listen for specific needs. Giving specifically is addicting: it is a tangible reminder of how God lets us be part of their ministry. And then, we constantly ask God "what's the next step?" Should we go and visit? Should we give this particular gift? Should we go take a class? Asking this simple question in each season has led to unbelievable twists in our adventure.

08

Giving Decisions

When asked about knowing where to give, David Platt said "surrender, abide, and then rest." Giving starts with surrendering everything to God: my paycheck, my prayer life, my street address, all of it. But beyond a surrendered heart I need a listening heart. Through daily abiding in His written word, community, and prayer, I can know His heart. And once I humbly and attentively submit, I rest knowing that God will guide me to give where, when, and how in a way that brings Him great glory and brings me great joy. For my wife and I, this principle translated practically by giving to our local church and giving back to places that had impacted our faith journeys. Over time, we saw passions, places, and people God brought to our hearts. And through those we developed a mission statement to focus our giving on developing deep, Gospel partnerships.

09

My Mission

As a daily reminder of what matters most, my wife and I wrote this mission statement: "To know and enjoy God by making Jesus' name famous through radical, Spirit-led generosity". It starts with a joyful relationship with the true and living God of the Bible, not a comfortable god made in my image to serve my agenda. But God has put us in this place at this time to make Jesus' name famous. In God's great creativity, each family does this differently. In this season, we get to give generously in a way that illustrates our true treasure is Jesus and not our stock, 401k, or paycheck.

10

3 Words

Those I impact most directly are my family. One of the greatest gifts I've been entrusted is my son and the weighty responsibility of shepherding his soul. I have no control over his soul, but I do have the responsibility and opportunity to prepare him for His calling. I pray that my son remembers that his dad spoke the truth about who God is and demonstrated that through loving his family. That I thought eternally with my time, money, and talents. And that in each season, whether it be plenty or little, that I lived with contentment and treasured the Lord.

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