October 29, 2007
Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many? John 6:9
This Daily Devotion begins with two words. One of them you know, the other you don’t. The word you are acquainted with is chores. If you grew up on a farm, in a large family, or in a home where your parents believed you should learn responsibility, you were given chores, duties that enabled you to contribute to the overall benefit of the household. Chores are a good thing.
Now, here’s the word you don’t know. It’s ayah. An ayah is a child in India who works for his or her living. Ayahs do the thankless jobs that nobody wants to do or pay for. For example, an ayah who works in a restaurant might be asked to baby-sit the children of patrons who are dining there that day. For the service provided, an ayah will be given the opportunity to eat the scraps that are left on the plates of the patrons.
Ayahs will spend their lives wearing hand-me-down clothes. Ayahs never go to school, and ayahs are never taught any trades or skills that enable them to better themselves or move up in the world. Now you know what an ayah is. Being an ayah is a bad thing.
There are two other things about ayahs you need to know. First, even though India has made it illegal to hire a child as an ayah, there are still, depending on whose figures you believe, somewhere between 12 and 90 million children serving as ayahs. The second thing you need to know is Jesus loves and wishes to save every one of those ayahs.
Indeed, when Jesus spoke about how Christians should care for the “least of these,” who is the hungry, the naked, those who were in prison, He might well have had India’s millions of ayahs in mind.
It is a daunting task, so overwhelming we might be inclined to paraphrase the apostles whose words serve as the text for today’s devotion. You remember what they said: “How far (can our resources) go among so many?” The human answer to that question is, “Not very far at all.” The Divine answer is, “As far as the Holy Spirit wants to take it.”
When the disciples distributed the loaves and fishes to the multitudes, God blessed the distribution. If we share the Savior with the ayahs and other forgotten folk around the world, might He not do the same once again?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You have told us to share Your story of salvation with sinners around the world Knowing Your Word accomplishes its task, may we be unafraid and do all we can to reach the lost, the lonely and the forgotten. In Your Name. Amen.
A postscript to today’s devotion. Andrew Fitzgerald from the International Department at Lutheran Hour Ministries is putting together three Global Work and Witness Projects to India. One will focus on renovating an orphanage, the second will help teach English to children, and the third will concentrate on outreach to children. If you or your congregation wishes to receive more information about these or any other Global Work and Witness projects, you can talk to Andrew at 1-800-944-3450 x4256.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries