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Lenten Devotional: Mar 16

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Today’s texts: Genesis 49:29-50:14; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Mark 8:1-10

Mark 8:1-10

Jesus is in tune with the multitudes. He knows how far they have traveled to come be with him. He knows that they have not eaten for days and are hungry. He is concerned that they will faint on their way back if they don’t have something to eat. He wants to feed them.

The disciples are not concerned and do not see beyond their meager resources of seven loaves of bread and some fish. They have forgotten that the person who can use that resource to meet and satisfy the people is with them but they do not seek his help. They say that there is not enough to feed four thousand people.

Having grown up in India where we are used to large gatherings and open hospitality I was disappointed with the lack of hospitality I experienced on the college campus in the USA. It made many like me long for and cherish the warmth and welcome of, particularly, our Asian and South East roots.

My father supported a household of nine with his small salary. Relatives came often and stayed long and there was never a concern about resources. We had no luxuries; only necessities, but we were content. When I started a church internship following college my focus was cross-cultural ministry. Often students from other countries would want to visit American homes. I tried to encourage my church members who were mostly white, to invite the students to their homes but they seemed to think that they did not have the resources to really relate to the students. They would give me money to take them out to lunch but felt that Sundays and other holidays were their family times.

I believe that as Christians we yield such rights at the foot of the cross. As disciples of Christ we pick up our cross in terms of such choices and follow our Lord. My husband and I made a conscious decision to extend hospitality to internationals and non-Christians at each holiday and on special occasions. We  learned that if we offer what we have in terms of resources to the Lord He will turn it into blessings in meeting the needs of people who come to our home.

Another area of need that the Lord has impressed upon our hearts is to care for the orphans and widows around the world. It was overwhelming to hear that there are 100 million orphans in the world, and that thirty five thousand of them die every day due to lack of food, shelter and abuse. I believe that there are enough resources in the world to feed, clothe, and house every person in the world but  it is the lack of proper stewardship of these resources that is at the heart of this tragedy. A group of us decided that while the 100 million figure is daunting we could meet the needs of 100 children at a time.

In our first project in India a single mother battling a terminal illness brought her three children to our orphan home. Being poor and unable to feed them she decided to leave them in our care. In her visits to the home, and before her death , she confessed to the staff that it was the love that her children had experienced at the hands of the Christian staff that caused her to trust in their God. She became a Christian because of their witness both in word and indeed. Our ministry began with very little resources but as we offered it up to the Lord he has blessed and multiplied it beyond our imagination.

Lord Jesus Christ teach us to extend the compassion we have experienced from you to those around us.

* * *

Viji Nakka Camauf

Viji Nakka-Cammauf oversees the Little Flock Children’s Home – a ministry to orphans and widows. She is as adjunct professor for a number for colleges and Seminaries.She serves on the Boards of ISAAC, World Christian Fellowship, Perspectives Northern California (the Harvest Group), and Mills College. Nakka- Cammauf  ed-edited the Asian American Christianity Reader with Tim Tseng, is a retreat speaker, and leads workshops on missions and leadership for churches and organizations.

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