Sunday, July 2, 2017

Three Rings: Thailand

To say jewelry isn’t my thing is something of an understatement. I’ve invested very little time and money in jewelry of any kind. The most being super cheap braided bracelets I got on my Race. And I even haggled for those.

So after setting that stage, I feel like you could understand that I don’t have a huge fascination with rings. I’ve only owned a few throughout life, and only one did I buy myself. I don’t wear rings, so they’re pretty easy to forget. That is until recently.

See, I proposed to my wonderful girlfriend (now my fiancé) Ashley recently. And that requires a pretty nice ring. So suddenly I started to care a whole lot about rings. As in, more in a few months than the entire sum of my life.

It got me thinking about one ring I got on my Race that I’ve had for almost 4 years, another one I got last month, and of course the engagement ring. And how these 3 little loops of whatever they’re made of can actually signify lessons in my life.

So here is the story of the first of those three rings.

The Thailand Ring

December 2013 was month 4 of my World Race. We were in Thailand serving a church with one of the most amazing men I’ve met. His name is Pastor Ekachai, and he is joy personified. I’ve seen him belt out Christmas carols, dance with Christmas trees, and joyfully pursue fitness like no one I’ve ever met. He’s hilarious, he’s kind, he’s faithful, and he’s a man I’ll never forget.

At the end of the month I had to leave my team early to head to Bangkok, I was a logistics leader on my squad and had to head to the city to take care of some visa issues. Pastor Ekachai drove me to the bus station early one morning. We were making small talk when we arrived at the station. Suddenly he turns to me and tells me to hold out my hand. Not super sure where this is going, I just do it. He then puts this ring on my finger and says in his Thai accented English:

The ring itself
“The Holy Spirit said that if this ring fit your finger that I needed to give it to you.”

I was stunned. I tried to tell him that it wasn’t necessary, that it was his ring. But he wouldn’t have it. So I got on the bus wearing his ring, absolutely in shock. 

You see, Pastor Ekachai had been bragging about this ring all month. It was a prized possession of his. His brother had gotten it for him, and he loved it. For Pastor to decide to give me this ring at the word of the Spirit was something I couldn’t understand.

It fit perfectly. It still does actually, I’ve kept it all these years. None of it made sense to me at the time. In fact, it still doesn’t totally. It wasn’t some exchange of goods. This ring meant something to Pastor Ekachai, and the Spirit told him to give it to me. That carries weight. A weight that I couldn’t figure out.

I pull it out from time to time to look at it. To see if his gift suddenly made sense to me. I mean, why did I deserve this possession that has so much value to this man? To sacrifice something he loved so dearly? And on top of it all, he himself probably didn’t know either.

It was ridiculous. And I’m still floored by his willingness, generosity, and the love I felt from him in that moment.

Basically, it was a surreal experience for me.

The fantastic Pastor Ekachai leading worship
And now as I sit here typing I think I get it to some extent. This ring was meant to begin the journey of worth in my life. To understand that I’m worthy of such gifts in the eyes of the Father. That I’m deserving of good things for no other reason than being one of His. I’m worth a gift of such value.

This has been a journey I’ve been walking over the last year specifically. Who knew it started so long ago? That it started with the Lord whispering something to Pastor Ekachai. Something that he could have easily ignored or questioned. But because he didn’t, I’ve been working towards understanding my own worth for years. Something I’ve greatly struggled with.

This ring is hugely important to me, now. It represents a great deal of journey for me in understanding my own worth. I’ll always be thankful to Pastor Ekachai for giving it to me, and being obedient to the whispers of the Lord. Especially when it doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, that’s just a snippet of what I’m mulling over.

Catch the next two blogs to hear the stories of the next two rings!

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