How sacrificial love accomplishes the seemingly impossible.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed one of the most inspirational men I’ve ever met. His name is Jeff Todd, and his testimony is a powerful example of how to love sacrificially.
Jeff, a Florida native and one of four brothers, shared how his early years significantly impacted his life. “I came from a broken home. My parents divorced when I was young, which affected me. My mother often worked long hours to provide and tried to get us into the church, but I wasn’t buying. ‘Latchkey kid’ is the best way to define my early childhood.”
Despite these challenges, Jeff always sensed there was more to life and his spiritual walk. He also knew he wanted to be married one day, regardless of his parent’s situation. Then, one day on the corner of his house, he saw kids getting into a bus heading to church and became interested. He asked his mom if he could join them, and she obliged.
After a couple of weeks of hanging out with them, he heard the gospel, gave his life to Christ, and started his transformational journey. However, those years also proved challenging as he had no mentor and eventually joined the navy, where his faith waned. During those years, he had failed relationships and strayed from the faith but eventually redirected his life to Christ.
As part of this rededication, he asked God to bring him a godly wife, “Lord, please bring me a wife, and if you do, I have three requests:
- I want an ‘island girl.’
- I want her to speak Spanish.
- I want her petite enough to carry her over the threshold.”
In short time, Jeff met Bernadette, a petite Jamaican girl that knew Spanish.
However, this, too, came with challenges as Bernadette had and has M.S ( muscular dystrophy). “When I met her, I knew exactly what I was getting into. Bernadette and her family also advised me that this was not going to get better as time went on. That didn’t matter to me because God answered my prayers, and if this was God’s will, I was going to see it through.”
They eventually married and started their life together. Over those years, God blessed them in innumerable ways. As missionaries, they’ve traveled the world sharing her story and helped lead thousands to Christ. During their 35 years of marriage, Jeff has served and provided for his bride in every possible way. “I dress her, cook for her, feed her, clean her, carry her everywhere and attend to all her needs because she’s basically paralyzed.”
“In addition to this, I have to attend to household chores and handle the finances. One year out of curiosity, during our 30th anniversary, her brother calculated that I’ve carried her over 846,000 times or something like that,” he added.
When I asked Jeff how he does all of this, “God, only Christ gives me the love, strength, and perseverance I need to accomplish what sometimes seems impossible. Without Him, I would not be able to do this.” I then asked, “How would you define love?”
“I think Jesus is our greatest example. Love is sacrifice. Love is giving. The verse that best defines love for me is Philippians 2:3-4. Also, when I was getting married, I heard “Virtuous Woman” by folk singer and songwriter Buddy Greene, which resonated with me. The chorus says,
‘And Jesus wants me to love her
The way that He loves me
Sacrificing my own desires
Attending to her needs
As He does for me’
These simple yet powerful lyrics define what loves is. Love is living sacrificially for others as Christ does for us.”
Answer and Journal the Following
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Pray on how to love your wife sacrificially and the perseverance and strength to do so.
Meditate / Make It Real:
Contemplate and meditate on or memorize the passage. What is God saying to you? Then, determine what you will do with what you’ve learned.
Share / Show:
Share and show what you’ve learned with someone else.