I have never forgotten one of my first trips to visit microfinance clients in the Dominican Republic. We left early in the morning, passing through a town so small it disappeared from view in minutes. Ahead stretched sugarcane fields, dirt roads, curvy slopes, groves of mango trees, and pastures peppered with cattle.
The drive was bumpy, uncomfortable, and long. We drove right through a river, even farther into the heart of the countryside. I remember thinking, Where exactly are we going?
An hour or so later, we arrived at our destination: a dirt road lined with several houses made of wood and tin. A group of women sat outside under a tree, waiting for their loan officer.
From a business perspective, the cost of traveling so far to serve such a small group is a loss. But the women were there, waiting to be encouraged, ready to receive their training, willing to fulfill their responsibility of paying their business loan, and hungry to hear about the hope of Christ.
In Matthew 18, Jesus shares the parable of the Good Shepherd who leaves His flock to seek one wandering sheep. The value the Shepherd placed on that one sheep was worth leaving the 99. It didn’t make sense from a business perspective, but His perspective was shaped by the value and dignity of the individual. Likewise, the value and dignity of the women waiting for us made the cost to reach them worthwhile, no matter how few or how far they were.
I wonder if Jesus’ journey to earth—to pursue us—felt bumpy, uncomfortable, and long. Yet, His focus was on our value and not on His loss.
During this Advent season, I pray that God will help us to see each man and woman as valuable, dignified, and worth seeking, even when it costs us journeys down unknown and uncomfortable paths.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the value You place on our lives. Thank You for Your example of treasuring every person. As people who have been pursued by Your unstoppable love, mobilize us in pursuit of others who need to know their worth in Your eyes.
by Alexandra Nuñez, president and CEO of Esperanza International (Dominican Republic)