I’m fairly certain I have blogged about this before, however, today, this particular view on true love has taken on an entirely new meaning. Before I get into why, let’s catch up with what it means…
Years ago, in 2007, I traveled with the now-defunct Teen Mania Ministries’ Global Expeditions to New Zealand and Australia for two months doing short term missions in various locations of various styles. While I could go on and on about the ministry we took part in and how God worked in so many different ways, I am going to talk about one of the sessions that we have. I don’t remember the exact name of it (it’s been nine years!) however, it was about relationships. I was a Team Leader on the trip, and I served under some great Project Directors, of which Gus Kruse. During this breakout, it was a time where all of the male leadership sat with all the female missionaries while the female leadership sat with the male missionaries, and they would poke us (leadership) with questions. One of the questions was “What is true love?”
There were two responses that really stood out.
- “Willing to give birth on the jungle floor.” –X.X. (I have only his initials X’d out here, as he is a missionary in a relatively closed country. And I love this answer because it shows the willingness of a woman to go where ever God may call her and her husband, even if it means birthing and rearing children on the mission field.
- “The last piece of meat.” – Gus Kruse. This one stood out because it is a practical bite of advice on what is true, sacrificial love that can be witnessed and practiced in every day life. What does that mean? It means as a man, I am willing to give up the last bit of my food (or all of it) to make sure that our children and family are fed first. It means a mom would be willing to give up her food to make sure her children are taken care of. And, as for the reason I type these words today, it means as a homeless couple, the willingness to not eat at all for days on end to make sure their beautiful daughter has enough food to eat and stay healthy.
I serve in a ministry called Safe Families for Children. In this ministry, we help families get back on their feet by providing short-term non-foster-care placement for their children with volunteer host families. The parents still retain full custody, but the placement allows them to take intentional steps towards whatever is needed to be done, and often getting things done is hindered (not purposefully) by young children. The family that I met today is homeless, but happy. They are strong, yet vulnerable. They love their daughter with all their heart. As they ate the McDonalds that was given to them, they made sure their daughter, who had already eaten with the host mom, had whatever she wanted of their food, and they didn’t get upset or mad or have any negative reaction when she threw a chicken nugget on the floor or something.
The Last Piece of Meat
When I had spoken earlier in the week with a colleague who did the intake, she told me that when she met with the family, they were starving, because they hadn’t eaten since the day before when they had met with another one of our colleagues. That all the food they get goes to their daughter, and they only eat when she’s done.
The Last Piece of Meat
I wept that night when I went home, and I had yet to meet the family. I wept because of the sacrificial love that they have for their daughter. It’s not something you see often in this day and age. And it is beautiful to see as I have seen it.
When I met the family today, I saw a family who was loving and caring and strong, stronger that I could be at that moment, having to say goodbye and see you later to their daughter, again (they did so a few nights’ prior when placing their child).
So now, when I think of that phrase which I first heard uttered by Gus in the summer of 2007 in that little Korean Café in the bottom floor of the hostel in Sydney, Australia, “The last piece of meat,” this family is what I see, is what I think about. I praise God for people like them, and they aren’t a Christian family, yet they show sacrificial love. It is my hope and prayer that they do, one day, meat the Savior, Jesus Christ, and Lord willing, respond to His call on their hearts. In the meantime, however, I hope they continue to give their daughter that last piece of meat.