As I walked up the road from our hotel on our way to dinner, a young man walked up to me and handed me a grasshopper he made from a palm leaf. He said, “Pura vida! Welcome to Costa Rica.” Intrigued by his friendliness, I began conversing with him and he tried to show me how to create a palm grasshopper (a humorous undertaking). The rest of the family joined us and prompted by the Lord, I invited Carlos to join us for dinner. Because Sarah and Mark are fluent in Spanish we enjoyed interacting with him at a nearby restaurant.
Carlos shared with us about having to leave school to work because of the multiple operations his mom underwent for a serious back problem. For a period of time his father was unemployed and Carlos and his brother and sister had to work to pay the bills. Listening to this articulate seventeen year-old, I asked if he would be interested in hearing Bryan’s story to which he readily agreed. He was amazed to hear how God had miraculously healed Bryan from his brain-stem tumor.
We asked Carlos what his dream was and his eyes lit up as he shared about his desire to become a pilot. Shortly before we finished eating, he invited us to his house for dinner, sharing that his mom made terrific tortillas. We set a date for the following Sunday to go to his house.
Philippians 4:8—Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.
Pura vida means pure life, but "Pure life" in Spanish would be "Vida pura." The real meaning is closer to "full of life," or "this is living!,” or "cool!" It serves both as a greeting and a farewell, to convey satisfaction, to politely express indifference when describing something or even to say "thank you." Costa Ricans use the phrase to express a philosophy of strong community, perseverance, good-spirited resilience in overcoming difficulties, enjoying life slowly, and celebrating good fortune. As we traveled Costa Rica many people spoke these two words to us. We found them written on billboards, shirts and handicrafts. They convey warmth that brings encouragement.
When I read Paul’s instruction in the meditation above, I think of pura vida. Through the Holy Spirit we are able to live life to its fullest! By His help we discern God’s will for expending our time and energy on whatever pleases Him. This evening, around a home-cooked meal, we hope to have opportunity to share with Carlos and his family what the real meaning of pura vida is. If you read this today, please pray that God would bless our time and perhaps use us to bring a struggling family an eternal hope. Something to think about . . . in reveration!
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
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Photo used under Creative Commons from Rachel Maxey Miles