With chagrin, I stared at the giant weed patch that was thriving in the front lawn of my rented house. Last year an enormous, unsightly evergreen bush was removed, and with the sun finally reaching the soil, the weeds proliferated. Care to guess how many hours I’ve spent landscaping? The two-foot tall dandelions, rampant thistles and thorns, and chaotic wanna-be shrubs practically shout the answer: zero! However, I would like to spruce it up and make it beautiful. As I stood in front of this daunting project, I noticed a treasure: a bee balm plant! I didn’t put it there (and the previous tenant surely didn’t, either).
When I looked across the street, I noticed my neighbor’s yard (beautifully landscaped, by the way) boasted several large patches of the same bee balm, so I went across the street to chat with her about my recent discovery.
Through our conversation, we discovered that: 1) bee balm smells amazing; 2) she had planned to divide up and give away some plants, including her bee balm, and would gladly let me give them a new home; and 3) hostas cover a multitude of sins: they grow anywhere and will eventually take over even the thorniest patch of weeds, perfect for my situation.
All of a sudden, I had a plan for changing my neglected non-garden into an easy-to-care-for, nice looking space, all thanks to someone who cared for her corner of creation and shared that care with me. My neighbor even invited me to come over with a trowel to dig up a number of varieties of hostas that I could replant in my yard whenever I wanted.
Neighborly hospitality is a much sweeter option than buying all-new plants. Maybe you are that neighbor who has an abundance of plants and can give to someone on your block, helping them beautify their space. Maybe you are that neighbor a little bit at loose ends with your corner of creation.
This week, offer what you have – whether an abundance of plants and wisdom or appreciation and a few questions – to build relationships and a more beautiful creation. Generate some goodwill with your neighbor. Maybe you can share bee balm, hosta or other green surplus with your neighbor. Maybe you can share questions and appreciation with your neighbor. You might just make their day and your neighborhood a little more lovely.
Does something as simple as sharing time, conversation or plants with a neighbor demonstrate the Gospel? With the grace of God it does.