No More Sloppy Love

“This happens every day,” said Stuart.

Stuart and I were enjoying an impressive five-course lunch in the officer’s mess. He was serving as the Chief Engineer on a ship visiting Mombassa, Kenya.

I was in Kenya as a missionary but had returned from a camping safari with a throat infection. The ship’s doctor had dosed me with antibiotics and had provided a bed in the sick bay until I recovered. Now I was savoring the extravagant meal and thanking God for His timely, loving provision.

But what was happening on the deck below our panoramic window? Three Kenyans had stopped swabbing the boards. Their dirty, ragged pants and faded T-shirts suggested an aid donation. A sailor in a crisp uniform was carrying a bucket towards them, careful not to splash it on his crisp trousers or shiny shoes. The Africans began jostling each other to get to the contents—their midday bonus.

“This happens every day,” explained Stuart.  “The galley throws the leftovers into a slop bucket and gives them to the local workers to fight over.”

“Cheese and biscuits, Sir?” invited the steward.

“No, thank you,” I replied. No more overindulgence for me! From that point, I would try to direct some of my surplus to the neediest people of the world.

Whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:17)

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