Justin just got back from a mission trip to Ecuador. I was so excited that he was able to go! He and his team worked with pastors and their wives and children who gathered in a small village for a pastor's conference. Many of them walked for days just to attend! Justin helped lead the music, play with children, and even spoke to the pastors for a little while. I'm so proud of him and really wish I could have been there. We didn't get to communicate much while he was there, but in one e-mail he wrote that he wished I could be there with him, but he definitely didn't wish Elijah were there because it was just so dirty. It's amazing the conditions others live in daily.
There were lots of new things Justin discovered on this trip. In fact, he didn't know much of what to expect, but he did know beforehand that he would be eating a rare delicacy prepared by the villagers - the "food of the gods" - guinea pig! Yes, I can't even believe it. My husband has eaten a guinea pig. (I have been sick basically the entire time since he's been home so we've hardly kissed. -boo- But I think that's been good because surely the guinea pig aftertaste is completely out of his mouth by now! Ugh!)
*Another side note if you want an idea of the dish he had - just Google "fried guinea pig."*
As amazing as it is that Justin has eaten guinea pig, the generosity of the people who prepared and served the guinea pig is even more amazing to me. Before going, Justin learned that a meal of guinea pig costs about $10 for the people to serve. These are people who (for those who actually make money) make about $40 a month! Imagine that - taking a 1/4 of your monthly income and blessing a stranger with a meal that you don't even splurge on for your own family. Think about that right now. What would a 1/4 of your monthly income be and would you even fathom preparing a meal that costs that much? We experienced this generosity on mission trips we took to Mexico as well - the giving out of their limited funds to welcome those whom they have never met. What a picture of hospitality and service!
I'm reminded of an account of such generosity in the story of Mary as she pours out a great offering on Jesus. In Matthew 26 we read the following:
And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor." But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."
As I think about the people who served Justin and his team last week, I am just amazed at their generosity. But I admit, much like the disciples, I find myself questioning the gift. Why did they spend this money on food that may or may not even be enjoyed by people they don't even know? In order not to see this treatment as an incredible waste, I have to view the meal as Jesus viewed Mary's gift - as an amazing act of worship. She knew her Master as Provider, and chose to lavish upon Him, her Savior, ultimately knowing His promises to care for her. These villagers who prepared such a sacrificial meal for Justin's team truly worshiped, showing their reliance on an unchanging Savior instead of reliance on their measly income.
I am challenged to seek greater ways to worship my Savior through extravagant service. I think that acts of service that are ultimately gifts of worship to our great God show the world that we serve a worthy Savior.