Friday 10 May 2013

Sadly, the post below is taken from my last Living Faith Column for the Advertiser. I didn't actually see it in there so in case it didn't make it, here it is for you. And if you are intrigued to know more about what Ben is up to, check out his video on
For the Love of Chocolate…

My youngest son Ben is in Bolivia. He finished at Blue Coat last summer and now he's doing a gap year with Youth With A Mission, working with street kids in Santa Cruz. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America, there's no social security, and thousands of kids end up living wild on the streets, where they are treated like vermin.

I am hugely proud of him – but why should Ben, a vicar's son from England, sacrifice a year helping kids dumped on the streets on the far side of the world? He's been passionate about it ever since he first heard of their plight – but why go to such lengths?

If you go down to Cadbury's World you will find a great display about chocolate. It was first made in South America from cocoa beans. Because of the prestige of chocolate, these beans were very valuable to the Indians. One exhibit says that to the Mayans a human being was worth 72 cocoa beans! So your life literally wasn't worth a hill of beans…

Our society puts financial worth on people. If you lose your life in an accident, your loved ones are compensated for the predicted loss of your earnings. So if you would have earned £25,000 for the next 40 years they'd get a million pounds! I know, not much hope in this recession, but at least it's better than beans!

But God puts an entirely different value on your life. The Gospel tells us that He loves us so much that He gave His only Son – Jesus, who died in agony on the cross - so we could be forgiven, saved and loved. Every human being is therefore of infinite worth, because in Jesus God gave His own life as the price for ours.

That's why our Ben is with those street kids. No human being is vermin. Whether you are on the mean streets of Santa Cruz or the relative comfort of Walsall, you matter to God. If as so many do these days you feel your life is worth little, go to the One who gave everything for you on the cross. Ask him to show you how much you matter. Think about it next time you are enjoying a chunk of delicious, melt in the mouth chocolate…

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