By Ryan Olson
Pastor of Little Falls Alliance
I watched as the crown of bright orange flowers was placed on my wife’s head. It was closely followed by a gold necklace and bracelet, which had all been taken off of the 10-year-old girl standing nearby. I wanted to scream and cry out, “No! You can’t do that!” It did not seem right and I know that my wife, Sarah, would agree. They belonged to this 10-year-old girl and not to anyone else.
I watched while Sarah humbly stood there. Tears welled up in her eyes as she realized the sacrifice that was being offered by the girl’s mother at the expense of the child. Sarah had done nothing to deserve such royal treatment, nor had the girl done anything wrong to deserve to have such riches taken from her. Yet that is what had just happened and I couldn’t say anything for fear of offending our new friends in La Ventosa, Oaxaca Mexico.
This was just one of many unforgettable moments that we encountered during our 10-day experience of the culture in southern Mexico. Never have I experienced such humble generosity as I did in that week and a half. Here we were rich Americans who had, in a physical sense, everything to offer, finding ourselves at a loss for words at how we were being loved by our brothers and sisters in La Ventosa.
When I saw the crown being placed on Sarah’s head I kept having this image of Christ play over and over in my mind. Then I had the realization that that is what he did. Here we had a woman who gave, not only of herself, but also sacrificed her daughter’s belongings, to someone who had done nothing to deserve her gift or her grace. Yet, we see God giving of his son, to us. We do not deserve anything that he has to offer.
Revelation 2:10 says, “Be faithful, even to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life.” We see Jesus giving us a crown. Jesus took his righteousness off of his own self and placed it upon us. He gave up what he had, so that we might have what he had. He gave up his life, so that we might have life.
That church in La Ventosa showed us what it means to love people like Christ. What a humbling experience.
I pray that you might come to know that kind of love in your life, as well as to learn to demonstrate that kind of love. The kind of sacrificial love that shows each of us how to love people like Christ loves people.