So even though historians can't agree on what caused the first collapse of the Mayan Culture, I'm pretty sure the second collapse can be traced to a girl from Oklahoma on her first mission trip to Belize who didn't know a thing about their culture. Guess I should explain.
On my first mission trip to Belize I was in charge of games for the afternoons we spent in the villages doing Everyday Sunday School. I was okay with that; I had lots of experience. I planned games and the kids, although shy at first, really got into the games and had a great time. We played girls against the boys and the competitions were lively. I thought things were going well.
The second day our mission director pulled me aside and said the Village Chairman (like our mayor) had said he'd never seen the children so competitive. I asked what he meant. According to the Village Chairman, the children were not usually so competitive...especially the girls. The girls never competed with the boys. I was horrified! In just two days I felt like I had totally destroyed the culture. I was assured that all was not lost and the Chairman thought it was okay for a little competition.
I made it a point to do research and find out more about the culture before my next trip to Belize. I've come to realize that know the culture of a people and respecting that culture goes a long way to effectively sharing the gospel.
A few days ago I heard a Casting Crowns song called "While You Were Sleeping." It talks about how Bethlehem was sleeping during Christ's birth and Jerusalem was sleeping during His resurrection. It goes on to talk about America and Christ's return. The song is what got me thinking about that first mission trip and how the American culture is eroding day by day. Yes, we have international "clout" and remain the land of the free and the home of the brave, but, especially this time of year, I'm more aware of commercialism, selfishness and the need to have more, have bigger, have better.
What happened to putting others first? What happened to servant leadership? What happened to the difference between needs and wants? How did dollars become an expression of love?
There are still those who do selfless acts...random acts of kindness, angel trees, helping neighbors, etc. Recently in our community a child asked those attending his birthday party to bring gifts to donate for Toys for Tots. He invited the whole town and donated over 500 toys.
All is not lost. Prayer Warriors are still on their knees for friends, family, our nation and our world. God's kingdom is still being tended to today. I pray I don't forget Whose I am and just because our culture says something is permissible doesn't mean it's okay. I don't want to be caught sleeping.