We, as born-again Christians, are exceedingly blessed to have direct access to God at all times. He is omnipresent. He never leaves us. He never forsakes us. He never sleeps or closes His ears to us. Even if this — a continuous access to our God — was the only benefit of our faith, we would be blessed above all the earth! And yet He has granted us more and more beyond this.
But imagine with me if God only visited us for ten days a year. He promised to be a benevolent protector of the innocent and a ruthless destroyer of evil, but he only came among us for his birthday and a short celebration after. Imagine. How much trust could you put in him? How much emphasis would you put on those ten days?
And what if you expended all that energy and expectation for a god who didn’t really exist?
There are roughly 1.5 billion South Asians; over 990 million of them are Hindu. The festival is ten days, starting today. It’s the only ten days, according to their beliefs, that their god (Ganesh) is actually with them.
Toward the beginning of summer Ellie got a new doll, an Indian doll. It is so cool. In addition to the great clothes, hair, henna tattoo and jewelry, the doll — Nahji — comes with a book and a story, sort of like American Girl dolls. Only this one tells of her homeland, India. It tells about what it’s like to grow up as a girl in another country. The dolls are from World Vision. You can learn more about them HERE. Since Ellie got Nahji, she has been obsessed with Indian culture. She’s even started a campaign for us to adopt a little from there, including telling all the neighbors that proceeds from our garage sale were to “help us buy a sister.”
I don’t know about adoption, but I do know that we can do something to help. We can pray. We can learn. We can educate. We can pray. We can share. We can do a lot. And the next 10 days are the perfect time to start.
Willyoucare.org offers a great collection of resources for individuals and churches who want to use this festival to reach Hindu people with hope-filled Gospel of Jesus Christ. There you’ll find a free ebook to help you pray (available in English and Spanish), facts about the people groups and nations involved and organizations that are making a difference. Click here for a quick pamphlet.
A number of people criticized Christians after the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day claiming that they’d never see that many Christians in line at a homeless shelter or a food bank, but give us fried food and we’ll stand in line for hours. While I completely disagree with the sentiment — Christians are much more active in service than most the world realizes! — I do want to challenge believers not to only be active when it’s the popular thing to do. Yes, the Festival of Ganesh is a great time to be reminded of the spiritual needs in South Asia and a great time to do something about it. But let’s never believe that our work is done simply because the celebration ends or the fad passes. May these 10 days simply stir our passions toward greater things.
What will you do with 10 days?