We recently had the opportunity to host a Rwandan friend in our home for two weeks. As we explored Colorado together, he commented that the terrain reminded him of old western movies he had seen as a child. I couldn’t agree more! Rugged, stunning terrain surrounds us in Colorado!
The stereotypical image of the self-made, ruggedly-individualist cowboy has been spread around the world. When many people think of Americans during that era, they picture someone like the “Marlboro Man.” In fact if you search for the Marlboro Man, the first images you find may be of billboards around the world featuring this cowboy image.
In 1954, the Philip Morris tobacco company launched the first ad. The theme continued with active advertising campaigns until at least 2000. According to the BBC, it was one of the most brilliant advertisement campaigns of all time. Sales increased 300% in the first two years! It is literally iconic of an era and an identity.
There’s just one problem.
On several levels.
First, from a physical health perspective. According to a 2014 article in The Guardian, three actors who portrayed the Marlboro Man died of smoking-related diseases. Smoking cigarettes is not healthy.
Secondly, from a spiritual perspective, the entire theme just isn’t true. We are not “self-made.” We are not independent. We can’t make it on our own, despite our best intentions.
Finally, our cowboy hat and shirt would never look that good if we actually lived in the Wild West!
Seriously, Scripture says that we all need to depend on two things if we want a life of purpose that produces a legacy of service:
1. God – “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:1).
2. Christian Community – “And let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us encourage one another with words of hope. Let us do this even more as you see Christ’s return approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
This is one of the things that I love about Hope Haven Rwanda. We invite people into a life-altering experience, like the one that Micah refers to in this week’s video. Micah led our last Youth Camp and he helped American students step out of their comfort zone. They learned to depend on God and on their community. Such a powerful journey of personal growth and impact!
Who are you depending on today?
(If you are interested in serving in Rwanda this summer, we are planning to have leaders from our US team there all summer. We are also setting up a mountain biking/service trip which will be epic! Visit our webpage and click on Get Involved, Engage, Volunteer to learn more.)