Nate Adams: The Gift of Presence

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP) — Not long ago, my wife Beth and I were discussing whether to attend a wedding to which we had been invited. It was a considerable distance from our home and required a couple of nights in a hotel, driving and meal expenses and at least one vacation day.

Though we both wanted to go, and felt we should, I found myself asking, I wonder if the couple would rather have the money that we would spend on travel as a wedding gift?

It’s not the first time I’ve asked that kind of question, and it probably won’t be the last. I remember international missionaries once telling me that a church had spent $50,000 to send a large mission team halfway around the world to serve with them for a few days.

They were grateful for the help and encouraged by the fellowship. But they also shared with me candidly, “We couldn’t help but think how much more we could have accomplished here with $50,000 if they had stayed home and just sent the money.”

Experiences like these underscore the sometimes difficult question, How much is someone’s physical presence worth? Or, to state it more casually and commonly, Shall I go, or just send something?

And of course, when the question presents itself at the time of someone’s death, it often has the additional pressure of urgency since there is often little advance notice and little time to make a good decision about going. I still remember fondly and with great appreciation the people who traveled distances to attend my dad’s funeral. And I remember a funeral from almost 40 years ago that I still regret missing today.

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Source: Baptist Press