Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Feed My Sheep

I was deeply touched when a friend directed me to this video. Narayanan Krishnan is a Brahmin Hindu from a privileged family who had a bright future ahead of him as an award-winning chef, but gave up a coveted position in Switzerland after witnessing devastating hunger and privation in his hometown of Madurai, India. Krishnan founded his nonprofit organization, Akshaya Trust, in 2003 at the age of 22. Seven years later, he had already served more than 1.6 million meals to India's homeless, mentally ill and destitute. In addition to providing three meals a day every day, which he often hand-feeds to those who are too weak to feed themselves, Krishnan also provides baths, shaves and haircuts as needed to the nearly 400 people that he serves. And on top of all that, he gives love - hugs, smiles and encouragement - to these "untouchables," rejecting the caste system which teaches that they are unworthy of his notice. As you watch the video, you can see the deep joy and satisfaction this man feels, knowing his work is truly changing lives. Krishnan may not be a Christian, but for me, his ministry of compassion answers the ubiquitous question "What would Jesus do?" to a T.

Vanesa Delfino, a student at Riverside Community College, was feeling disconnected from God. She visited the La Sierra University Church and heard a sermon on service given by Pastor Chris Oberg in which she related an experience her family had shared of feeding the homeless in Los Angeles. Vanesa immediately decided that she would make sack lunches and deliver them daily to the homeless in her Riverside neighborhood. She and her sister have been doing this for ten months now, and the happiness Vanesa feels when she describes her outreach is almost tangible. She has found the love of God by selflessly serving others.

How about you? How is God's love for you (and yours for Him) made manifest to those with whom you come in contact every day? How do you relate to the homeless and needy in your neighborhood - do you reach out, or walk away? Do you rely on others to care for the destitute, or is the love of God so pervasive in your life that you simply must share it?

Narayanan and Vanesa are bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. I can't help but wonder how changed our world would be if each one of us seriously considered what we can do to share God's love with others on a daily basis - if we, too, reveled in the joy of service to "the least of these." (Matt. 25:40)