A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

Loving Your Neighbor

One of my life’s goals is to be a gardener. Not a professional one, but an amateur with a green thumb. Both of my grandfathers had the gift. However, as far as I’m concerned, my thumb only has a faint, almost invisible, green tinge. I try. Believe me: I try, but the results are mixed. 

One of my gardening goals was to plant an orange tree in the planter that separated my yard from my neighbor Ray’s yard. Now, Ray not only has two green thumbs, but ALL of his fingers are green! He loved to talk and share his gardening tips. I would try to follow his directions, but nothing seemed to click.

Until one morning, as I passed by the orange tree, its transformation caught my eye. It looked greener and fuller! It actually looked…healthy! Every day thereafter, when I looked at it, it just got better! I had a bumper crop of beautiful, juicy and tasty oranges! 

Orange Tree

I was so excited and proud that I couldn’t wait to share my gardening glory with Ray! I told him all about it, but his reaction puzzled me. Instead of rejoicing with me, Ray looked rather subdued. He confessed that he knew what had happened. Ray had noticed the troubled condition of my orange tree. He knew how much that tree’s success meant to me. So, during the days when I went to work, Ray had secretly fertilized my tree with a special citrus tree food that he had ordered on the Internet just for my tree! That’s what loving your neighbor is all about:  Matthew 22:39: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

 - Terry Swenson, Loma Linda University Campus Chaplain 

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