Paying it forward … with blueberries

Blueberries2A friend of mine — who shall remain unnamed in defense of his blueberry patch and because he doesn’t do it for personal attention — offers a beautiful example of selfless kindness in Jesus’ name.

He grows blueberries — lots of them — with painstaking care. He tends them carefully, fertilizing them three times each year, cleaning out the undergrowth, managing the overgrowth, mowing the grass around them. And he eats some of them, but not that many.

He grows them mainly for his friends, folks like me who get a real kick out of picking fresh berries for yogurt or cereal or cobblers. He won’t accept any payment for the amazing, fat, juicy berries that he grows. There’s just one condition: if you pick some for yourself, you have to give some of them away.

Take them to a new neighbor, he says, and build community. Or take them to someone who can’t get out and pick on their own. Share some with a friend who could use a little encouragement.

blueberries1Doing so is a reminder that the sharing can be even more rewarding than the eating.

My friend calls the project his “blueberry ministry,” and it’s one of many ways he finds to share Christ’s love in creative ways.

I was raised by parents who believed the produce in our garden was meant to be shared, as did other friends and neighbors. That atmosphere of communal support is often missing in more urban settings, but a blueberry patch beside one of the busiest streets around is building community, one bucket at a time.

 

Tony Cartledge

About Tony Cartledge

Tony W. Cartledge is contributing editor of Baptists Today, in addition to teaching Old Testament studies and various ministry courses at Campbell University Divinity School. He formerly served as editor of the Biblical Recorder, newspaper of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and as a pastor for 26 years. Tony is a graduate of the University of Georgia, Southeastern Seminary and Duke University, where he earned a Ph.D. He is the author of several books including the Smyth & Helwys commentary on First and Second Samuel and Telling Stories: Tall Tales and Deep Truths.

1 Comment

  1. This is a wonderful way to share Christ. So many can be blessed by him that he doesn’t know. This is great and thank you for sharing the story. It blesses us to know that there are people who do what they do for others instead of for money. God will bless them.

    Reply

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