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part 3: riches

Recently I was sharing with one of my students about the middle class. I shared with her that my family is a part of that. She understood and said, "But you are rich" and I immediately told her that was definitely not true. But then she persisted, "Your heart is rich so you are rich."

The fact that she equated money's riches with the heart's riches perfectly encompasses my thoughts for this last part in the series.

Originally I was going to post this after we had camp and VBS, way back at the beginning of the summer. Then, two things happened that kept me from writing--life happened and I got the feeling that the story was not finished yet. So, I waited as the summer played out.

The life part of the set back was my job for the summer--being a hostess.

Each summer umpteen different Korean mission teams come to provide a myriad of Vacation Bible School experiences. Those experiences require a great deal of Mongolian involvement [which I am not] so along with my hat as hostess I put on a very important hat as an observer...

A few years ago during a trip to Liberia, I came to a new understanding of the meaning of blessings...riches...the things we're given and what we do with them.

The new understanding crushed my old grasp and blossomed into something that is still growing in my soul today, always evolving, solidifying and evolving again.

It was after that trip that I came to a conclusion in my life that words hold a deep value in our spirituality. Words hold meanings from the world and meanings from God--our job is to reconcile the two and live accordingly.

The living accordingly part sometimes presents itself in our lives in ways that are undeniable if we just pay attention.

That has happened to me this summer as I have become an observer. At camp and VBS I watched as the Mongolians that I have come to love mingled and mixed with Mongolians that I didn't know yet. They impressed me by being open and loving to one another. I think that's when I first really realized the richness of the Mongolian heart--they never meet a stranger.

Whether it was with the other youth, the neighbors of the place we were staying or the train conductor, they treated everyone they met like family. It was humbling.

Then we went to VBS, which was in a town that one of our church members decided to move to and start a house church. She had just moved about a week before we came so she didn't know too many people yet. So, we had a really unique opportunity to be the first people to share the Good News with a lot of people.

That was my favorite thing to watch unfold. My kids [well, youth but I call them kids] claimed the knowledge of Jesus like it was all the riches in the world. They were excited to share about who Jesus was with people who had genuinely never heard before. They wanted to teach them songs and invite them into story time. They wanted to teach them to pray and to look at each other differently.

Their riches were from the heart and it was illuminated by their actions.

It was such a blessing for me to a be a part of true Good News sharing. But one of the biggest parts of that blessing was realizing how rich knowing Jesus makes our lives.

As the rest of the summer has progressed, I've been back to that town and seen the children from the first VBS that happened there. They have continued to go the house church and learn. Each time we return they've learned more about Jesus and you can tell that the richness has taken hold of their lives too.

After that, with each mission team that has come, I have watched as hospitality is becoming newly defined before my eyes, too.

I have seen what God desires for us in receiving love and gifts.

I have had a unique and challenging experience in neither being on the mission teams or being a Mongolian. I am neither the giver or the receiver.

What I've learned about hospitality is that it is best known, as I think God would have it be known, from a place of unity in Him. Hospitality I think takes the words "giver" and "receiver" and equates them to "family."

When we begin to see people as our true family because of the commonality in the Lord, we cease from being separated by the world's boundaries--we glimpse heaven.

Hospitality is a concern of the heart and our ability to see the family that God has created. I think when we are able to see like God does, that's when our riches multiply.

It's almost like in the riches of our heart, hospitality is a currency [yeah, yeah, pretty corny].

All of these thoughts still seem jumbled even though I've been swirling them around in my brain for nearly 2 months now.

I am only claiming to know that riches measured by the world can hold no light to riches measured by the heart.

For the rest of my life if I am poor of money but rich of heart, I'll consider that a victory.

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