“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This commandment appears several times in the Bible and serves to cover many other commandments such as do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not kill and so forth. Many years ago, we were studying Jesus’ words about this commandment, and it came as a realization to me that I first had to love myself. If we are doing as the Lord commands, it is much easier to love others.
I had to put my life in order first; then loving others was simple.
So, who is my neighbor? Someone who lives nearby who is moving soon. We have always been eager to help her by putting hay out for the horses. Now we are loading the farm stuff onto trailers so she can prepare her property for sale.
A neighbor in need is easy to help. But what about the elderly gentleman who ran out of gas in front of our house. We were able to offer him a warm place to wait for someone to bring gas (because we had none on hand). He refused, but was given a blanket to keep warm.
Neighbors can be anyone. We feel that receiving our vaccinations is loving our neighbors. If my husband and I are protected against the flu and other diseases, than we are not nearly as likely to spread it to others, including family, friends and neighbors.
The Fellowship of Christian Farmers has many ways of showing love to its neighbors. Sharing the gospel message using the wordless walking sticks leading them to salvation, and serving other farmers with short-term mission trips and rapid response when disasters happen are two ways this great organization helps its neighbors.
Remember in the new year to love your neighbors as you love yourself.
Laurie and Russ Bedford are members of the Mountain Valley Chapter of Fellowship of Christian Farmers International in Jefferson, N.Y.