Your Neighbor as Yourself
The last 12 years I have attended and led a week-long mission trip to this place I love so much. When you’re working in the poorest county in America, almost everyone you encounter is struggling deeply financially, and evidence of that is everywhere you look. One year I was leading a crew in a woman’s home- we were replacing the flooring in her bedroom, kitchen and hallway. We spent a lot of time talking with our homeowner and she told us a lot about her struggles, but that she always took people in who needed it, that she was caring for her ailing husband, her grandkids, and any other kin that would pop in. This woman grew a garden in her backyard to help feed her family. One day when we working she went out to her garden and cut a bunch of cucumbers, took them inside, washed, peeled and salted them and gave them to us- a crew that brought lunch with us every day. She told us it was her favorite snack and the only way she could thank us.
We were strangers and she welcomed us as neighbors and she loved us as she loved herself and her family. It wasn’t about her; it was about showing love to us. That’s what the greatest commandments are about- not me, but God, and the other.
Rev. Gabrielle Martone is the senior pastor of Broadway and Port Colden UMC’s in Washington NJ.
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