One thing that has stuck out to me so far on this trip is how passionate the people are here. A prime example of this was on Thursday January 5th, when we went on the river cruise. I may be totally off base here with my assumptions, but I feel a lot of times we (Americans), become “comfortable” and “content” with where we are in our lives. We fall into routines, and because we are relatively “comfortable” in our lifestyles, we sometimes become stagnant and do not strive to better ourselves. Not that being comfortable is a bad thing, but I think we as Christians are called to be the best we can be. It doesn't matter what profession or trade we are going into, we can be the best that we can be in our given specialties.
As we got off the river boat, we passed a vendor (Gilbert) selling some handmade wooden bowls and a little wooden sailboat he had made. After Hilary and I purchased the sailboat from the man, another student asked about how much one of the bowls would cost. Then Gilbert handed him the bowl, and began telling us about all the beautiful detail put into his product, then ending with a price he would take for the bowl. The student replied , “It really is a beautiful bowl, but I cannot pay that much.” The student tried to hand back the bowl but Gilbert put his hands out and said, “No, no, no you hold on to it, It is a beautiful piece, you give me $20 and you can take it home with you!”. This went on for close to five minutes. And guess what?...The student bought the bowl.....and another student bought one as well. Gilbert made out very well that day.
You could quickly tell by interacting with Gilbert that he was not living in a comfortable lifestyle. He was struggling to get by, and those struggles forced him to be the best wood worker and salesman he could be. He was not selling these pieces of wood to make extra money for vacation, he was selling these things to eat; to possibly feed his children; to survive. Gilbert refused to take no as an answer, and was pushing himself to be the best he could be.
Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to talk with him about his faith, but I do feel his outlook on work lines up very well with Christian values.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
If each and every one of us took this approach to our own vocations, just think what a difference we could make. Think of all ways we could witness through our hard work. And think of all the people we could inspire to turn their lives around and maybe, for the first time in their lives, work hard and push themselves to not settle.
I am going to put the beautiful wooden sailboat I got from Gilbert on my desk, and each time I see it, be reminded that God is calling me to to be the best person I can be; the best optometrist I can be; the best friend I can be; the best Christ follower I can; the best uncle I can be, the best son I can be, and some day the best husband and father I can be.