I have been inspired, I have been challenged and I have been loved because of one man’s story. I hope that you will be touched just like I was, if not more. Before I begin, take a minute to ponder about what the phrase “love each other well” means for your life.
It was a typical Thursday afternoon here in Guatemala which means heading to the garbage dump to serve lunch and love the people that live there. When I arrived, I began to look around and wasn’t sure where I was supposed to go or what exactly I should do. I began to pray and I asked God to reveal where I needed to go and who I needed to talk to. He sent me to Geranimo Marcos, a precious 74 year old man who had an amazing story to tell and a heart that loved the Lord.
I sat down in his shack that overlooked the dump and began to talk with him. At first we made small talk and he told me about his family and how he has been working at the garbage dump since he was a child and that was the only life he knew. He explained to me the process that takes place each day at the dump and how he salvages the good things that people throw away without hesitation. I asked if he had a wife and he said no, she died 18 years ago but that he still loved her very much. He was eating lunch while I was talking with him and he said “me and my wife, we are like this tortilla, split in half and separated but we still fit together perfectly when placed next to each other”. He talked about how his wife was a missionary and loved the Lord and she was always serving others. He told me how he lived with his children and grandchildren now and there was never a moment in his house that was quiet but he wouldn’t have it any other way. He spoke about his oldest son and how he was a preacher and loved the Lord as well. He said every night at 7 they have church in their home and all of the neighbors come over for the service.
I listened intently as he poured out his story and what he had been through over the years. He had been through so much heartache and lived so much life with so little. He had next to nothing and was so grateful and so full of life, this was touching. The love of the Lord poured out of him as I just sat and listened to him tell me story after story. This continued for several hours and I took in every minute of it, absorbing as much joy, advice, and love this man had to offer.
At the end of our time together I asked him if he had any advice for me and he said ” love each other well”. Such a simple statement but so extremely powerful if you apply it to your life. I thought about my own life and how I live on a daily basis and am I able to say that I love people well? Do I sacrifice my needs and put other’s before my own? Do I go out of my way to care for others? Am I intentional with people and do I strive to form relationships that don’t just scratch the surface? Would I give up the last loaf of bread for someone else? Am I really truly loving people well or do I just halfway do it? These questions continued to roll around in my head and left me questioning how I live my life.
As these questions continued to repeat in my head, 1 Corinthians came to mind. The word says “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing”. We can pour ourselves out and give all we have but if we don’t love each other well then what is the purpose?
As he hugged me goodbye he whispered “God sent you to fill me up again and I am so thankful”. All I could think in that moment was God placed him in my life to fill me up and remind me what truly matters.