When the kids were just under school age, they were allowed to go to pick berries in the woods if they went together. One sunny day in July they had been gone for a short while with their little plastic buckets, which they hoped to fill with wild blueberries.
I looked out the living room window and saw one of the little ones march down the road with great focus and intent. She was swinging her bucket as she walked and she looked upset.
I stepped out to greet her. She came to face me and wanted to ask a question:
"Mommy, is it not so that the Bible tells you to give two things even if somebody only asks for one?"
I was not sure I understood which passage of the Bible she was referring to so I asked her to explain what she means.
"Well, Ellen has a lot of blueberries, they cover the bottom of her bucket. I asked for one blueberry and she gave me only one when she should have given me at least two! That's what the Bible says, doesn't it?"
How interesting, I thought. This is a common way to read the Bible. Even adults often think that the Bible is a set of rules for our neighbors, friends and relatives to follow.
I explained my daughter that the Bible gives instructions to us as givers. When someone asks us to walk with them or when someone asks us to lend a coat, then we should give more than we are asked.
The Bible is written to me, not to my neighbors. It is telling me what I should do, not what my neighbors should do. Therefore it is not a set of rules for others, only me, on how to live to reflect God's love and mercy.
And here ends the blueberry Bible lesson.