Some men occupy their days and fill their pocketbooks carting slop. Bicycles carry huge, blue, open vats of slop to unknown places where the pigs live. It sloshes around, a thick, chunky mixture of food scraped from plates or expelled from woks. The muck on the containers repels a pedestrian before the smell ever reaches the nose. No one washes the containers between loads. I do not ask to know this…I see it clearly.
I never pictured slop in my mind until I encountered it overseas. America is clean. Slop travels mysteriously through some opaque tube into a closed truck with some words about sanitation written in green or white on the outside. Only a few come face to face with this ugly reality of life.
My children, however, grow up smelling smells and seeing things I never set my eyes on as a child. Slop is one of them. I say slop and they know…their minds pull up a picture of a nasty blue container crusted with who knows what. Slop is real to them. Their faces contort when I talk about slop.
So, last week when I read the story of the Prodigal Son and they listened again…I added some detail and brought it home to them. I told them that pig food he ate? He ate slop. Their faces dropped. Unimaginable. How desperate. How disgusting…eating slop. Anything is better for dinner than slop…even slavery in your own home. Going back as slave became a totally reasonable and necessary choice to avoid slop.
We walked along puce green for a few minutes as we imagined eating slop. I hope they remember slop for the rest of their lives. The smell, the look, the grime…because maybe the grace of the Father offered to them will astound them. Instead of slop…or slavery…a beef barbecue as a treasured son?
I hope and pray they choose the barbecue because they know a life apart from God resembles eating slop. I pray they know the grace of the feast that the Lord offers when the best they dare expect hope for is slavery.
And, for myself, I hope I receive the gift daily to enjoy the barbecue instead of trying to earn a meager meal…the best I fear I deserve…as a slave.