Oranges and Lemons
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, August 19.
o you like sweets? What kind of sweets do you like? Cake? Chocolate? Chewing gum?
If you asked children in Poland about their favorite sweets, there was a time when every child would probably say, “Oranges!”
Maybe you can find oranges at the store or, if you are lucky, growing in your yard. But it was nearly impossible to find oranges in Communist Poland. The only time of the year that oranges and other citrus fruit were available was at Christmas.
So, enjoying oranges on Christmas was a very big deal for Polish children. Oranges were such a big deal that, as the Christmas holiday neared, national television gave regular reports about the progress of ships sailing to Poland with their precious cargoes of oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruit: A ship was carrying navel oranges from Egypt; a ship was carrying mandarins from Turkey; a ship was carrying more oranges from Cuba; and a ship was carrying a bunch of different kinds of tropical citrus fruit from South America.
Polish children and adults drooled as they watched television images of the delicious fruit being unloaded from ships at Polish ports. It wasn’t cheap to buy the fruit. But they couldn’t wait for Christmas to arrive so they could peel an orange or a lemon and enjoy the tangy goodness inside.
Perhaps no one loved oranges and lemons more than Maria. She wasn’t a little girl anymore, but she had loved oranges and lemons for as long as she could remember. Maria was a young wife, and she was sick. She didn’t feel well at all, and she longed to eat an orange or a lemon.
“Ryszard,” she said, looking hopefully at her husband, “I really want an orange or a lemon.”
Ryszard’s brow creased with worry. He would give anything in the world for an orange or a lemon for his dear wife. An orange or a lemon might be just the thing to make her feel better.
But oranges and lemons were only available for sale at Christmas time. It wasn’t even close to Christmas. Even if it were Christmas time, it would cost too much money to buy an orange or a lemon. Ryszard was a pastor, and he and Maria didn’t have much money at all — certainly not enough to buy an orange or a lemon.
Still, Maria wanted an orange or a lemon. It was a simple dream, and Ryszard felt sad because he couldn’t fulfill it.
With a prayer to God for help, he left the house to visit some church members. He wanted to encourage them and to remind them of God’s love.
Ryszard stopped at one home to visit an old woman. The old woman was lonely because her daughter lived far away in the United States.
When he knocked on the door, the old woman opened it with a big smile.
“Pastor, it is good that you are here!” she exclaimed. “I just received a package from my daughter in the United States, and I have some oranges and lemons for you!”
Ryszard couldn’t believe his ears.
Moments later, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The old woman presented him a box filled with gleaming, joyful oranges and bright, happy lemons. The plain box with the precious fruit looked like a jewel box filled to the brim with sparkling gems.
Ryszard couldn’t wait to return home.
A short time later, he was back at home.
“Honey, I have something for you,” he said.
He showed Maria the oranges and lemons.
Her eyes grew wide with astonishment.
“Where did you get those from?” she asked.
“God gave them to me,” Ryszard said.
It was true. It was a miracle gift — and it wasn’t even Christmas. The Bible says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV).
Thank you for your Sabbath School mission offering that helps teach people around the world about our loving God who supplies all our needs.