Sunday, February 03, 2008

Invisible Hand

At a time when a lot of attention is being paid to the American economy, this phrase originally coined to illustrate a free market economic idea, has come to mind. Though I really want to borrow the phrase to contemplate God's hand moving through history, which is an inspiring and exciting idea, especially in Bulgan, regardless of economics.

Two examples of God's hand moving here our neighbor and house keeper.

Our neighbor's name is Otgonbayar. He is 40 years old, and has a young daughter and another on the way. He started building his house about a month after us. One day I needed to ask a favor, or borrow a tool or something. I went into his Ger (small whilte felt-walled tent) and he gave me tea and we exchanged names and ages, which are the two pieces of information most important about a person here. Then he asked what we were doing here.

Hearing the answer, he excitedly started ruffling through some trunks looking for some book. He came up with some AA materials and showed them to me. He explained how 5 years ago he had escaped from a life of alcohol addiction through this program. He seemed to be giving God the credit for helping him get out of this destructive life. Then we talked about Jesus.

Otgoo did some more digging in his trunk and came up with a Mongolian Bible! Since then we've had a few chances to read it together. One of our other neighbors asked me the other day if Otgoo believed in Jesus. So perhaps they know or see something I don't yet.

The invisible hand of God seems to be bringing His Kingdom here through one of my neighbors.

The second example is the lady that helps us clean our house now and then. Her name is Bamoe, and she's about 50. Her husband died about 5 years ago, and she lives by herself. She actually first helped us with painting the interior of our house starting in October. At that time, she would occasionally ask spiritual questions and about what we were doing here, what the differences in the 4 churches in town were. To me she seemed to show disinterest to the answers to her questions. Now we hear her singing hymns in Mongolian that we don't even know. One day I finally asked her if she had received Christ. She said yes. I asked when. She said July. So the invisible hand of God was working in her heart before we ever even met her.

I found the following succinct explanation of the origin of the phrase: "The invisible hand is a metaphor coined by the economist Adam Smith. In The Wealth of Nations and other writings, Smith demonstrated that, in a free market, an individual pursuing his own self-interest tends to also promote the good of his community as a whole through a principle that he called “the invisible hand.”

Similarly I think, If Otgoo, and Bamoe follow Jesus because they want something for themselves, the Kingdom of God will be the richer for it, whether either realizes this on earth or in heaven.

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