India and an orange
Today, I am in India. It is a different world here, but people are people everywhere; everyone has hopes and needs and the daily business of just surviving, enough food, enough water, clothing and a place to sleep. I am staying at a missionary’s home although they are not here at the present time. It has been nice to have a little down time and to relax a bit after a busy time of concerts and events in Singapore and travel.
When I arrived in India it was late (or very early morning) and the pastor friend who picked me up at the airport pointed out the KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken (yes, they have those here) nearby where I could go to get something to eat.
Where I am staying is kind of like a guest house where everyone is on their own for meals. The first day I just stayed in the house, caught up on emails and did some work on the computer as well as got much needed rest. I had packets of chicken noodle soup and instant oatmeal with me as well as a box of crackers so that is what I ate. The second day I was really hungry for some protein and something more substantial. After enquiring about the area and safety, was assured that it was ok to walk about a mile to the KFC. I remembered the way, mostly, but went the wrong direction at one intersection on the main road and ended up walking about half a mile the wrong way.
My journey led me to pass by a fruit market. Yum. I was standing drooling while looking at the delicious fruit, which looked even more amazing after my recent packaged cuisine of oatmeal and chicken noodle soup the day before, when an older Indian man came up and enquired about the price of the oranges. He looked a little scruffy and quite thin, but he had a kind face and he didn’t approach me asking for anything. I didn’t understand the language that he spoke with the shopkeeper, but I gathered from motions that he was enquiring about the price of the oranges. I also quickly realized that he didn’t have enough money to buy one as he sadly shook his head and began to walk away.
As I was looking at those same oranges and wanted to buy one for myself, I enquired about the cost. 20 ruppes each. That works out to about 30 cents. I couldn’t bear the thought of buying one for myself and letting the man who also wanted one (and looked like he needed it much more than me) go without. I paid the shopkeeper for one for me and one for him and quickly walked away. I thought about how much I have and in Canada, how I can buy a whole box of oranges and even eat several a day if I want to as well as a variety of other food for nutrition and pleasure in taste, smell and color. It doesn’t seem fair that I would have much while many go without. So I will share what I have with those I can.
Eventually, I did make it to the KFC and had a good meal for only about $1. The chicken at KFC here is a slightly different recipe and seems to be more spicy than at home as is most of the food. But it was delicious and I had more than enough. I wondered what that man would be having for dinner. Perhaps just the orange. :-(
A pastor friend here in India is purchasing land for a church and ministry center that will train people spiritually and practically for jobs making a difference in their lives and in the entire community. They need to pay a deposit of half of the required amount by tomorrow and the balance of the money soon. They were a little short of the deposit of $1500 USD. The total for the land is only 3,000 USD which in the world of real estate is not a lot of money and it is a place that they can use for a great purpose.
If they don’t come up with the rest of the money in a few months, they will also lose all they have put in so far. Although I don’t have a lot, I could help a little bit, and I did so with great joy. They will have enough for the deposit amount for tomorrow and are still praying that God will provide the rest of the funds for the purchase of the land soon.
Today, I didn’t save India. I didn’t do very much actually, in the grand scheme of life and money and corporations and the vast sea of human need. But I gave what I could from what I had and it made a difference for one person and potentially for a lot of people.
The apostle Peter puts it this way:
Be generous with the different things God gave you, sharing your gifts to servE others. If words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything--encores to the end of time. Oh yes! 1 Peter 4:10,11
Here is a different version of verse 10:
Everyone has the opportunity to receive gifts from God and choose to collect those gifts by faith. God gives us the opportunity and ability to serve others by the power of the Holy Spirit with joy and mercy. Each can receive a reward in pursuing the goal of eagerly providing for the needs of others. We are all to be beautiful, genuine, and competent managers of the gifts that God has given to us, demonstrating and celebrating the multifaceted colors of grace, delight, blessing, kindness, and power of God. (1 Peter 4:10,11 EATS Extremely Amplified Truth Simplified)
What do I have that I did not receive? I did not choose the gifts and abilities I have or choose the country or family that I was born in and neither did absolutely anyone on this planet. Although I can choose to develop God’s gifts and share them (or not) there is not much that I can claim as originating with me. The word “mine” is tempered with the realization that everything I have is really a gift to me. The prospects of education and development were options for me to pursue. Even the ability to make money is a gift from God in the blessing of strength and opportunity. God, may I give what I can in the opportunities You give to me, shining with the specific colors that you have placed in me and sharing your amazing grace and kindness with this world. And you will get the credit because it is all from you anyway. Thanks for the privilege.