As the date of our departure to Kenya gets closer and closer, I have found myself reminiscing about my first trip to Africa (Uganda), when I was a senior in high school. One of the most impacting experiences for me was when we visited a family on the outskirts of the town we were working in. As their home came into view, it was obvious to see the extreme poverty that they were living in. I remember meeting the different family members and then being asked to sit down and visit with them. At this point, the mother went over and took out a set of cheap plastic cups and mixed up some Tang-like powdered drinks for us. As she brought out the drinks, the whole family was beaming with pride. Rarely did they get the opportunity to take out their best cups and serve guests the best juice they had to offer. As I sipped the beverage, they watched me closely for any sign of my approval.
I will never forget the looks of excitement on their faces at the opportunity they had to serve us and provide us with the very best they had to offer. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life and the value they placed in me during my fifteen minute visit in their home has not been matched anywhere since. Rarely do we get to experience someone giving us their very best, or showing that they truly value us.
Remembering this story has challenged me to take a look at my own life and figure out what I am assigning “true worth” to and how this affects me. Is my focus on physical things, like cars and money? Am I valuing the personal relationships I have enough? What about my relationship with God?
A few years ago, I was walking by a house that was for sale with a person I consider a mentor of mine. He pulled out the flyer and asked me what I thought the house was worth. Seeing an opportunity to impress him, I looked at the price on the flyer ($425,000) and stated that considering its location and the prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood, I thought it was only worth $375,000. “You are wrong” he replied. “It is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.”
What is a great marriage worth to you? Or a great friendship? What is being a Christian worth to you? How much are you willing to pay for these things? I could go down the list of what we might consider things that are truly important to us. However, the question we must ask ourselves is this: what carries true worth in our life? And are we willing to pay the price to create something that has true worth? I believe that things are not inherently valuable or carry a specific amount of worth. Instead, we are the ones who define what something is worth.
With only a few months left before we depart on our trip to Africa, I am continually asking myself this question: “What price are you willing to pay to make this trip extraordinary?” How much worth am I placing on this trip? My desire is to treat this trip just like the family treated me when I visited their home; with extreme love and service, willing to give up my very best without seeking anything in return. They showed me what my true worth was to them and I looking forward to the opportunity to show the people of Kenya their true worth to me.