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Life At Its Best: Meeting people's needs may start in your own back yard

By By Jim Graff
March 9, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 8, 2012 at 9:09 p.m.

Jim Graff

Recently, I came across an inspiring story about a 9-year-old girl named Katie. One afternoon, Katie came home from school with a cabbage seedling her teacher had given her. She carefully planted and tended to it over the next few weeks with the help of her Mom.

As time passed, this small cabbage seedling grew into an amazing 40-pound cabbage. Katie, realizing this was an unusually large cabbage, decided to donate it to the local soup kitchen. That single cabbage was used to provide meals for 275 people.

Katie was thrilled about this and wanted to do more. As a result, she and her family began to plant more vegetable gardens to donate to those in need.

As word got out, others in and beyond her community wanted to be a part. Many graciously offered supplies and services to help Katie fulfill her dream. Since then, her organization called "Katie's Krops" has donated thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables to help alleviate hunger.

Isn't it amazing what Katie could accomplish from something started right in her own backyard? She didn't have to look far. She didn't even have to look beyond her own community to find a need to meet. And neither do we. We can make a difference in the lives of others right where we are.

In Matthew 22:39, Jesus tells us that the two greatest commands are to love God and to "love your neighbor as yourself." Who is our neighbor? Jesus reminds us in the story of the good Samaritan.

In this story, a man is on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he gets stripped, beaten and left for dead on the side of the road by robbers. Several religious people passed by him lying there, but it was only the Samaritan man that stopped to help.

It's important to understand that Samaritans were a mixed race and were despised among the Jewish people. But this Samaritan wasn't concerned about their differences; he was concerned about the need.

He carefully bandaged the hurting man's wounds, soothing them with oil and wine. He put him on his own donkey, took him to the nearby inn and paid for him to stay until he was well.

Jesus was clear that this is what it looked like to love our neighbor. But what about the two others that passed by - the priest and the Levite? They were religious people, yet they purposely avoided him.

Maybe they saw their role as more of a profession instead of a passion to help others. Perhaps they felt God's work was more about a place than it was about people receiving what they needed.

We can make a difference if we'll not pass by those in need. We can give of what we have to help them get to a better place in life.

Of course, we can't do it all, but like the good Samaritan we can carry them to the place where they can find what they need to be whole.

Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.

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