By Tommy Rush
Late last Saturday afternoon, I drove out to some property that my wife and I purchased several months ago and I came up on a group of people in the ditch. They were not in the ditch because of an accident. They were not in the ditch looking for crawfish. They were actually in the ditch picking up trash and cleaning up the community.
Yes, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve driven down the same road for several months grumbling and complaining about the trash but never stopping to pick it up. Saturday I stopped because I knew I needed to at least tell the group “thank you.” I was pretty amazed to learn that about 15-20 people from the Oak Grove Community came together last Saturday to pick up trash along Highway 504. I was more than amazed to learn that after they cleaned the ditches on 504, they just kept going and cleaned out the ditches from Highway 3191 to Highway 1. One volunteer told me they had picked up over 160 large bags of trash!
I don’t know about you, but I was definitely blessed by these good neighbors who were willing to get dirty and spend their entire Saturday in the ditch! We all love neighbors who are willing to loan us a cup of sugar when we run out or the neighbor who will let us borrow a rake or a shovel when we need one, but “Good Neighbor” goes to another level when someone’s willing to go in the ditch and pick up our trash!
In Luke 10 a young lawyer came to Jesus and asked what it actually means to love your neighbor. Jesus told a story about a man who had been robbed, beaten, thrown in a ditch and left for dead. He told how several people walking along the road saw the man, but only looked and passed by on the opposite side of the road. But one man actually stopped to do something about the need. After seeing the wounded man, “the Good Samaritan” went down into the ditch, bandaged the man’s wounds and took the man to a place where he could heal. Jesus then asked, “Who actually loved his neighbor?” The young lawyer replied, “The one who showed mercy, the one who went into the ditch.”
I realize our Oak Grove neighbors were not rescuing a wounded and bleeding man from the ditch last Saturday, but they were definitely demonstrating their love for their neighbors and their community by spending their Saturday cleaning out our ditches! What a blessing it was to see a group of people “doing” rather than just “talking.” I don’t know if anyone else stopped to say, “thanks” or even if many noticed their hard work, but I sure did. I’ve driven down 3191 several times this week and each time I’ve been grateful for my ditch cleaning neighbors. May their number increase!