Hidden Wealth

by Deborah Fisch

My mom has a habit of collecting little things for my sister and me and storing them in cardboard boxes until we come for a visit and can take them home. A typical box might include: old towels for cutting into rags, extra cans of food, treasures we or she saved when we were children, Girl Scout cookies she’s dutifully bought from former students, and stuff she no longer wants, but doesn’t want to throw out. This spring my sister was going through a recently acquired box when she came across an old scrapbook that had been our mother’s when she was a child. It was a treasure of forgotten pictures, report cards, and newspaper clippings from my mom’s youth. My niece and nephew (and sister) were thrilled to read little notes my mom had received from third grade class mates when she was home sick with some childhood disease. They were amazed at the photos of her when she was their age, and they loved reading notes written on report cards about Grandma. The book showed a grandma they had never met. When my sister expressed her pleasure with the scrapbook she learned that Mom didn’t even realize that she’d given it to them. She hadn’t looked closely enough at the scrapbook to realize it was hers and not my sister’s. She had inadvertently given them a wonderful gift.

When we talk of wealth in the wider society we are often speaking of a person’s income and possessions. It is finite and easily lost and so people spend lots of energy trying to hold onto it. But there is another kind of wealth and it has much more value. I believe true wealth comes from God and is abundantly available in every human heart. We become wealthy when we begin to seek that of God in ourselves and each other and then look for ways to nurture and share. This kind of wealth only grows when it is given away.

The goal of the FGC Traveling Ministries Program is to help yearly and monthly meetings nurture the Spiritual gifts of their members and attenders through educating, encouraging, assisting in discernment, and coordinating opportunities to travel in the ministry. For too long now we’ve been inclined to store away our gifts in the bottom of boxes filled with other stuff-social service projects, history books, and other bits and pieces picked up along the way.

Now approaching its first anniversary, the Traveling Ministries Program has begun weaving a spiritual web of connectedness. Projects have included visits by the coordinator to yearly, quarterly, and monthly meetings; travel by Central Committee members to yearly meetings; coordinating travel of two Friends on a visiting and listening ministry to isolated Friends in Northern Yearly Meeting, parts of Canadian Yearly Meeting, and Central Alaska Friends; coordinating travel of a seasoned Friend to North Pacific Yearly Meeting; and arranging for workshop leaders at meetings and other Friends gatherings. In addition the TMP staff has assisted meetings and individuals with questions concerning clearness, discernment, support of members as they seek clearness to travel, and many other issues.

As we approach our second year, we ask Friends who feel led to offer their spiritual gifts to work with their home meetings on clearness and to offer their services to the Traveling Ministries Program. We also ask meetings who feel they would benefit from the visit of a seasoned Friend, whether for consultation, a workshop or mutual worship and fellowship to also contact the coordinator. Some funds are available to help meetings needing assistance covering the cost of hosting seasoned Friends.

Friends have been blessed with a wealth of Spiritual gifts. Let’s nurture and share them so they can continue to grow.

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