The Festival of Lights is just flicking on in Nepal, and I need to buy eggs and beat the dusk home. Against the paling sky, blinking lights bedazzle shops and house verandahs—like Christmas in October.
The supermarket is lit up like Santa’s workshop. Familiar shopkeepers smile. As they put my groceries in white plastic, they invite me to join them for prayers. I ask to whom? for what?
They motion to a colourful woman’s portrait behind the counter—their goddess of fortune. The lights attract her favor.
“Do you need money?” they smirk at their funny question.
I laugh-smile, handing over rupees.
“I’m ok. When I need money, I pray to my God too,” I say.
What I don’t say: I don’t need to put up lights.
Scurrying home under a sky blinking with man-made stars , I am thankful for eggs and God who gives for the asking, not just once a year when lights are bright. Festival music blares from open windows, an outstretched hand of needy hope. But who will answer?
I wonder what the shopkeepers saw: a wealthy stranger in their poor land? Not my empty bank account and day-to-day reliance on a benevolent King. A humble God, who was rich and impoverished himself, became broken bread so I would never be hungry—that I might be rich. I laid pauper pennies on altar, bared, in exchange for the gold coin of dependence.
I unlatch the creaky gate of home, dart in. Jesus’ words ring in mind’s ears.
You can’t serve two masters—God or money: love one, hate the other.
Money is a harsh master: his trembling servants beg permission for survival. I no longer ask money’s permission, only God’s. He meets my obedient step with always enough.
The God of a thousand hills of fat cows has no problem finding money. He only lacks brave children to depend on his abundance.