My son Joe and I went out to buy meat at a local farm. It’s a little off the beaten path for me, but I try to go there at least once a year to buy in bulk and support the local farmer. As I slowed the car down to carefully drive over the rickety homemade bridge spanning the clear rivulet on the property, a feeling of hope descended on me. It was more than the natural beauty of the farm and the slowness of the pace of life there. It was knowing we were doing our small part to help a local business stay open.
We have always made it a habit to buy whatever we can from our neighbors.
This is not the only local farm we support. We subscribe to a vegetable share each summer. Every two weeks, a box of locally grown organic veggies gets dropped on our doorstep. Every summer our kids work one day a week on that same farm. They work for the friendship they have with the farm kids, for the life skills they learn along the way, and for the character-building.
It is an honor to be part of something worth sustaining. That is why we try to support local businesses of any sort whenever we can.
When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic first hit we were finishing up a kitchen remodel —much of the materials and all of the labor were local, by the way — and the kitchen was too big of a mess to cook in. Even though we were strapped for money due to the project, my husband encouraged me to get take-out from one of the local struggling restaurants and to leave a tip. So, I did, believing that when we look after our neighbors, God looks after us.
Generosity — God’s way
There is a Bible story about just that. Tonight, or some night soon, when you tuck your kids into bed, read them the story of Elijah and the widow in 1 Kings.
Once upon a time when the prophet Elijah walked the earth, there was a terrible famine in the land. No rain had fallen for about three years. But Elijah was holy and walked with God and never doubted that God would look out for him. God told him to go to a certain town and ask a poor widow there for something to eat. The widow was also a friend of God. She told Elijah she would gladly feed him, but she only had enough flour and oil for one small cake for herself and her son. Once that was gone, they were going to starve.
Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid. Go and do as you have said. But first, make me a little cake and bring it to me. Afterward, you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” She left and did as Elijah had said. She had enough to eat for a long time — he and she and her household. The jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord spoken through Elijah. (1 Kings 17:13-16)
As He did with Elijah and with the widow, God blesses those who do right by their neighbors — and put their confidence in Him.
Susie Lloyd is a regular contributor to Catechist on themes related to the domestic church. She has also won three Catholic Press Awards for her writing. Find her books, articles and more at SusieLloyd.com
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