“Why do Americans drink so much water?"
It’s still one of my favorite stories from the Dominican Republic. One of our friends, a teacher, took some of her summer vacation to teach English to school children in this place that is so beautiful…and so humid…and so warm…and (frequently) so without air conditioning. Still, the locals don’t always have access to an abundance of clean water. Purified water — something we take for granted in the U.S. — can be expensive. Therefore, the locals don’t get in the habit of drinking too much of it. “It’s hot here and the water helps me stay healthy,” was our friend’s reply to the little child.
The next day, the kid had a new question: “Why do Americans sweat so much?”
I tell that story because I have watched at least a couple of hundred people trek off to that beautiful, tropical, hot island to serve others. Many of them take their vacations to work on construction projects in which concrete is mixed by hand and hauled from the mixing site in bucket brigades. Even Cathy got in on the action.
I hear all kinds of stories about Jesus’ followers heading off to retreats and conferences, traveling to (sometimes) posh destinations to hear a favorite Bible teacher. We get excited about joining the thousands at elaborate concerts performed by our favorite Christian musicians. We love to laugh and play and hang out together. The people in our Small Group go to movies together.
All of those together things seem pretty normal. The ones that intrigue me, though, are the ones that involve back-breaking, sweaty work in which teams of people start each day full of expectant energy and end it exhausted. The crazy thing is that, while new people make the trip every year, some of the same ones go back again and again and again. There's just something about serving together that bonds us like nothing else. A week of challenging work often creates life-long friends.
Serving together makes life richer and more beautiful. It’s a part of “community” that can easily be overlooked, but it’s absolutely essential for those who want to really mature as they follow Jesus. “Serving Together” is the topic this weekend at Stone Ridge Church as we continue “40 Days of Community.” You don’t want to miss it and it’s a great week to invite a friend. Who knows? You might find yourselves working side-by-side in some hot, humid place not long from now!
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