Part 1 of Series: Journey to Kenya
by Dr. Steve Dunn
January 15th of this year, my wife Dianne and I joined seven others on a journey to Kenya. We went as tourists and also as teachers to provide some training for pastors. It was a trip of a lifetime and a life-changing one at all. Both Dianne and I had traveled to Haiti but neither of us had ever been to any place in Africa. You can only imagine Kenya and your imagination will be inadequate. You have to be on the ground to even begin to grasp life in Kenya.
The reason is that only on the ground will you meet the people. The Kenyan people share many similarities to those of in the States but the culture in which they live, their closeness Islamic terrorist hot spots like Somalia, their history, and their economic state are nothing like we encounter in the US. Kenya is a place of great poverty, some of underneath the gleaming towers of cities like Nairobi.
The city we were located in had no gleaming skyscrapers. It had many poor people and some you would classify as middle class. We found no beggars, just hardworking people. The staff at the hotel where we stayed was just such people. They worked long hours–at least 12 hours a day-often not finishing until nine in the evening. And then there were the overnight people, who we sometimes found were daytime people. They worked diligently, accommodating our requests, and also with a smile. As Christians, we tried to treat them with respect.
One morning, I arrived for breakfast quite early. My body never managed to get used to living in a time zone eight hours ahead of mine back in Pennsylvania.
Breakfast was a buffet, something unusual for up country Kenya. Normally they served us every single dish but the necessities of our conference and the number of participants arriving for a meal at the same time, required some adjustments. I had let a waiter serve me coffee, but after ordering my eggs, I headed to the buffet to pick up my breakfast fruit plate. Matthew, one of the waiters stopped me after I had barely taken a step.
“Please sit down, I want to serve you.”
My journey to the buffet would have taken barely ten steps but I sat down and said, “Thank you.” Quickly, a smiling Matthew placed a plate of that wondrous Kenyan fresh fruit in front me. Of course, I like being waited on but I have no trouble serving myself. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the rest of my breakfast with Matthew serving me every step of the way.
Later, one of my traveling companions when hearing my story, said. “Given the context of what happened, that was a significant act of service. You see, he works from 9 to 9 but he arrived more than three hours early to serve you and the rest of us.”
Sacrificial servanthood is a disappearing value in our culture and even in the church. We have become a nation of takers, not givers, We think too highly of ourselves to inconvenience ourselves in serving. Sadly, Jesus clear words to us are sliding from our spiritual DNA.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10.45
Paul reinforced this core value in his letter to the Galatians:
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – Galatians 5.13
It’s a lesson we need to learn again. Thankful that Matthew has.
© 2019 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to http://www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org