Do You Like Fish?

Today’s scripture: 1 John 3:11-18 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Melody Merida):

It was our last night in Nimule before heading home to the states. Our gracious hosts had decided they wanted to throw a community party in our honor. We made our way to the center of the cluster of tukuls (traditional African homes) where there was a feast spread for us. It was the usual fare: kasavah, goat meat, tomatoes, rice, beans, beef, and potatoes. After much ado in the way of welcome we were invited to fill our plates and eat to our hearts content. We kawajas did as we were told, filled our plates and sat down to share our last meal with our new friends in this border town.

As we sat there eating our dinner, Caesar, one of our hosts, took a seat next to Kristin and asked her if he could see her plate. She lifted her plate and he shoveled a piece of dried fish onto it. As she looked up into his face she saw that he was beaming with pride over his generous gift to her. You see, only the day before he had engaged Kristin in a conversation about tilapia in which Kristin declared her love for the fish. She mentioned this forgetting that a few days before we had seen some of this dried fish in the sweltering heat of the market swarming with flies literally an inch thick. There was no doubt that the fish placed on Kristin’s plate was this same tilapia from the market.

What would Kristin do? Well, she smiled and thanked Caesar then lifted the piece of fish to her mouth taking her first bite. Caesar watched, still smiling, and chatted with her while he ate a piece of his own. She continued to smile at Caesar as he beamed with pleasure at her throughout the meal. To Kristin’s credit, she ate the whole piece of fish.

So, what’s the big deal? We had heard many times before the trip to be careful of what we ate and drank because our digestive systems just couldn’t take much of the traditional food and beverages. But in the name of kindness and kinship, Kristin took a risk. She took that risk because she knew how important it was to Caesar that he shared this pricey food item. He had been generous enough to think of her and provide something for her that he knew she would like even though it was a sacrifice for him.

We can say we have love for one another, but until we are willing to do something outside of our comfort zone for the sake of another, we don’t really know love. Kristin could have politely refused and still been friendly to Caesar, but it would have communicated otherness. By eating with him like this she embraced him and his culture. I think this is exactly what Jesus would do.

Thought for the day: Do I love the way Jesus loved? Step outside of your comfort zone today and do something crazy in the name of love!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.