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Our son, Elliot, went on a missions trip to Mexico this summer, with our church high school youth group. The stories he shared with us about Mexican hospitality, and the wealth that we have in America, made me think of this story:
One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.
They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
Upon their return from their trip the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”
“It was great, Dad.”
“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.
“Oh yeah,” said the son.
“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.
The son answered:
“I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.
We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”
The boy’s father was speechless.
Then his son added, “Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.”
Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don’t have.
I would have thought that Elliot would have shared more about hospitality relating to the Mexican culture, but in his mind, what impacted his young heart was the servanthood, love and dedication that came from the staff at our church, Jacksonville Presbyterian.
He also observed the love and connectness that the whole missions team had for each other, especially by the end of the trip. Working, playing, and eating together bonded the team. The adults made sure the kids had meals, water and transportation. They took it a step further and gave daily spiritual application to the goals and purposes of their lives.
Elliot didn’t have to reach very far to grasp the concept of true hospitality.
Our son came home with a gift that money cannot buy. The gift of loving one another.
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