by Sheri Schofield
Don’t you just hate it when the neighbor’s animals mess up your lawn? Me too. It wouldn’t be so bad if my neighbors had something sensible like a toy poodle or even a beagle. But no—my neighbors have… drum roll… COWS.
The neighbors drove their herd up the mountain about a month ago, much too late in the season to entice the cows to stay there. On the first cold night, the herd trotted back down to our place and began camping out here. Our lawn is now a disaster.
I guess some of the other neighbors are complaining to the owners, because two men from that family came up to our place today and drove the cattle off our lawn. They said, “We’re sorry about the cows, but we can’t do anything about them for another ten days.”
The words “I’m sorry, but—” are meaningless. I would have liked to hear, “I’m sorry. We’ll bring our shovels back and scrape the manure piles off your lawn.” But that won’t happen. So, I have two choices: I can either accept the problem and let it go—clean my own lawn when the cattle are gone—or I can remain upset. I chose to let it go.
On the positive side, I’m learning a lot about driving cattle.
Remember what happened after David killed Goliath? He was chosen to carry King Saul’s armor into battle. That could get dangerous, but it was a respected position. Most evenings, David would play his harp for Saul, so the king could fall asleep at night. Cushy job? Yes. But then Saul became jealous of David and started throwing his javelin at him at totally unpredictable times.
David quit. No job was worth that! He fled into the wilderness to the springs of En-Gedi next to the Dead Sea. Saul hunted for him, but no matter how intense the hunt, he never found David, though he came close at times. Once, when Saul went into a cave to relieve himself, it turned out to be the same cave in which David and his men were hiding. David’s friends urged him to kill Saul.
But David would not. He said, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD,” (1 Samuel 24:6, NIV).
Peter wrote, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9 NIV).
I don’t need to make my neighbors feel bad about their cows. Who is that going to help? If they can’t get the family together to herd the cows for another ten days, that’s just the way it is. I don’t need them to feel bad about it. But God wants my neighbors to know I care about them. So, taking this attitude of acceptance a step further, I think I will bake some chocolate chip cookies for them. Who knows what God might do through a batch of cookies?
Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like the first…’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV).
This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Award-winning author, illustrator, and Bible teacher Sheri Schofield ministers to children and their families through her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids. After serving Jesus through children’s ministries and personal evangelism for many years, she understands how to communicate God’s plan of salvation clearly to those who are seeking God.
Her first book on salvation, The Prince and the Plan, was designed specifically for children. But during COVID, Sheri sensed the need to also provide help for adults. Her new book for adults, God? Where Are You?, tells tells who God is, how we became separated from him, and what he is doing to bring us back to himself through Jesus. At the end of each chapter is a section called “Food For Thought”, which answers questions many unbelievers have, such as—If God is good, why do terrible things happen?—Is anyone too “bad” for God to want to rescue them from sin? This biblically based book is short and easy to read.
Join the conversation: How do you love your neighbor?