Upon returning from a recent mission trip to Honduras, it’s become painfully obvious to me that we like our “stuff” in the U.S.
The stuff we buy says a lot about who or what is important to us, from the cars we drive, to the foods we eat, to the clothes we wear. This includes the choices we make to spend the almighty dollar on stuff we thought we needed yesterday, only to be served with an unhealthy portion of buyer’s remorse tomorrow.
The question we must ask ourselves is, “What’s my motivation for money?” To buy more ________ (fill in the blank) or to pay for stuff we’ve committed to buy over time, i.e., the mortgage, our cars, our boats, and the toys we don’t need and hardly ever use. I’m asking myself the same question. Growing up with very little, I made a conscious decision at a young age to work hard and earn more so I could buy ALL the stuff I never had. I thought by having lots of stuff, I’d be successful in the world’s economy. This is not a guilt trip, nor am I saying we should save every penny and live like a recluse, sleeping on top of our money at night. What I am suggesting is we consider how we value our possessions and the way in which we desire and acquire them.
The Hondurans we met on our trip were very humble and showed me a level of contentment I’d never seen. It’s hard for us to imagine being content with what we’d consider nothing. Their motivation to get up every day is to provide their families with food, clean water, and shelter. Many of the people we worked with were in the mountains, and were miles away from markets and stores. The majority of them were living off the land, and sharing with their neighbors to ensure everyone was taken care of. The work we did seemed insignificant but meant the world to them. We replaced a few old rusted out metal roofs, poured concrete on what had been dirt floors for years, and built custom wood doors and windows to protect them from the elements. These basic necessities for shelter were game changers for them; their humble appreciation was greatly emotional, to say the least.
I know we’re probably not going to digress to these conditions or standards in America, but it’s definitely changed my view on what’s important to me. Do my family and me need a bigger house, a newer car, or a new set of custom golf clubs?
We go on these mission trips with the intentions of being a blessing to someone else, when in fact we’re the ones who receive the blessings and the perspective only the Lord can provide through his people.