My One Word: Sacrifice
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:9-10, 13 NIV)
Granny was the best cook ever! I loved her fried chicken! It usually came with a side of mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade yeast rolls and a mess (as my Granny would call it) of fresh creamed corn from the garden! What’s not to love – right?
Not only did Granny fry the chicken, she sometimes had to chase the chicken, catch the chicken, wring the chicken’s neck, pluck the chicken, cut up the chicken and then finally fry the chicken! What a process!
I think you get the idea of chasing and catching the chicken which often took place in our back yard. But for you non-country living folks, to wring a chicken’s neck would mean that once the unsuspecting chicken was captured, Granny would grasp the neck of the chicken and literally swing the chicken in a circular motion until the neck of the chicken broke – therefore producing one dead bird for dinner.
One day, things got a little complicated! As I watched Granny wring the chicken’s neck, thinking to myself that she was being a little over zealous by taking some misplaced anger out on the chicken instead of on us girls, not only did she break the chicken’s neck, the head of the chicken somehow pulled away from the body of the chicken. And yes, let your imagination go with this one – we had a headless chicken running through the yard, spurting blood everywhere. I didn’t know if I needed to be traumatized or if I need to laugh. So I picked laugh. Yes, I laughed out loud as I watched the headless chicken scurry about the yard with our German Shepherd puppy Rusty in fast pursuit until the chicken came to a screeching halt and fall over dead in its’ tracks.
Next came the plucking! Plucking, once again for the non-country living folks, is the removal of all of the chicken’s feathers by hand. Once the bird was striped of it’s feathers, it was time to butcher or cut up the chicken. I know, another new concept for some of us – one in which I will age myself – we could not always buy butchered chickens in the grocery store. Our only choice when buying chickens was to buy whole chickens which then had to be butchered at home. Now we get them all cleaned, cut up and sold in the pieces we desire or deem as our favorite pieces.
Granny was a knife wielding cook who could slice and dice a chicken in about 5 minutes leaving two breasts, one pulley bone, two legs, two wings, two thighs, and two backs. So finally it was fry time and then next – supper time!
It was an unwritten rule at the supper table for our chicken pieces to pre-assigned to each family member. Mom got the two chicken breasts – one for dinner and one for her lunch the next day. The older sister got the pulley bone. The younger sister got the thighs. I got the wings. Granny claimed the legs and the backs. And many times, or really most times, Granny would leave the legs in the fridge for us as leftovers and would nibble and gnaw on the almost meatless backs.
It wasn’t until Granny’s funeral, as her eulogy was being read, I realized that by claiming the chicken backs for herself, she was sacrificing the best for my belly, for my needs. And sadly enough, I had taken it all for granted for so many years, for so many chicken dinners.
Granny lived out the words of Paul found in Romans 12:10; “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” along with the words of Hebrews 13:16; “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Granny not only lived out her love for us, but she also lived out her love for God by choosing to sacrifice the best for us. She sacrificed for us just as God sacrificed Jesus, his one and only Son, for our sins. She sacrificed for us just as Jesus sacrificed His life so that we might have life – eternal, life.
No doubt Granny was met in heaven by our well pleased God greeting her with these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant! (Matthew 25:23) “And winner, winner, chicken dinner!”
So coupled with the legacy left by Granny and an amazing series of messages titled “All In” from my church, Restore Community Church, I choose “Sacrifice” as My One Word for 2013 praying these words as I live one day at a time. One choice at a time. One sacrifice at a time
“Lord, thank You for the ultimate sacrifice, for sending Jesus to die for me. Thank You for Granny. Thank You for her legacy of sacrifice. Cause me to live out your words in Romans. Cause me to be devoted to others in love. Cause me to honor others above myself. Don’t let me forget to do good and to share with others. Cause me to sacrifice for others so that they may come to know You or draw closer to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen