I recently came across this Lingala proverb: “Linga nsoso, linga nyei na ye.” The translation means “Love the chicken, love its poo.” We had a chicken for a while, and my grandmother had chickens, so when I heard this proverb I chuckled because I know that chickens make a lot of poo and they aren’t particular about where they leave it. Some things are just a package deal. We can’t have the reward without the work. One always accompanies the other, and you accept it because the “chicken” is worth the trouble of dealing with the “poo.”
There are some parts of serving and following Christ that are like that chicken poo. They are unpleasant, not fun, and often require a bit of will power and a lot of grace.
For me, it can be as simple as shaking hands with the beggar in the doorway whose palms are literally caked with grime, and greeting him when I give him money for food. Or playing with the kids at the orphanage even though they have scabies and ringworm. It can mean taking the time to learn a culture or a language in order to build relationships, even if it takes months or years. Chickens don’t show gratitude or appreciation and, often times, neither do the people we serve.
Loving the poo means loving people and meeting them where they are, whether they are benevolent or corrupt, well-to-do or impoverished, refined or crude. It means willingly giving up some of the freedom we enjoy and allowing God to use us to help others find true freedom in Christ.
It is easy to complain about the real and the figurative poo, but it is part of the “chicken package.” God uses it to refine us and make us more like Him. When the end result is that God is glorified and more souls are saved, it’s more than worth it. In light of eternity, it’s just a little poo.