Based on PCC's iLove series, here's today's piece from the devotional book.
Armed with sanitizer bottles, I went to Africa to help orphans and share God’s love. Briefed on cultural expectations and safety issues, we were warned to never drink the water or eat village food. We were supplied with “safe food” that we would eat out of the children’s sight. I was happy to oblige if it meant keeping my stomach free from “issues.”
Matapila, a Malawian village with a feeding center, hosted kids who walked miles for their only meal of the day. One little boy attached himself to me, with no shared language (other than laughter). Ernest held my hand in line, swung my wallet chain around, and played tic-tac-toe in the dirt with me as he ate.
Many times he offered to share his food with me. I always politely shrugged it off because I wasn’t about to steal food from an orphan nor did I want a slow, agonizing death by food poisoning.
One day, after I turned down his offer of a little potato, he got up to speak to a translator. She translated for me: “Ernest is concerned about you. He says you must be hungry because he hasn’t seen you eat all week. He wants to share his potatoes.”
What? He’s concerned for me? Crazy thoughts raced through my head. When was the last time Ernest washed his hands? Would this be my last meal? Could I somehow fake chew but not swallow? Lord, help me!
Earnest waited, looking at me with compassion in his eyes, holding out his dirty little hand with one small potato. Time stood still. Then it hit me. This little orphan was showing me the full extent of his love, the un-sanitized version. He sacrificed his only meal of the day. I held back tears. I took that no-frills potato and ate it. He was beaming. We sat there silent, both chewing (and swallowing). It was an amazing moment. Sitting right next to Ernest felt like I was sitting right next to Jesus.
Questions to Consider What fears (or sanitary issues) hold me back from loving others? Who is God calling me to love?
Prayer Abba Father, thank you for showing me love through Jesus and his sacrifice. Help me love others. Help me to see loving others as a way for me to love you and help me to be loved by you through others, even ones that would surprise me or that I might normally avoid.