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Adam's house was in the middle of an upscale, residential area, where small ornate trees dotted the sidewalks, and elaborate wrought iron fences ran the perimeter of each property. Charlie was surprised by the surroundings. Then she reminded herself that he was a plumber.

As she approached her destination, Charlie observed that Adam's two story house was conservative when compared to that of his neighbors. It was a deceptively small looking house, mostly due to the two tall elm trees that stood on either side, hiding the home's outline behind wide trunks. A black wrought iron fence ran the perimeter, disappearing behind the house. Adam's house was constructed of rough stone, (as was the walk leading up to the front door), giving everything an earthy feel. From here, Charlie noticed that Adam had green shutters on every window. It was the first time since she had arrived in Southern California that she had seen shutters.

As Charlie was about to ring the door bell, small sprinkler heads shot up from the lawn and sputtered into action. Startled, she jumped. It was then that she noticed Adam's grass. It was thick and green-- the picture of robust health. As Charlie rang the doorbell, she dismally compared his grass to the stubby stuff outside her own home-- sickly and yellow. She shook her head in dismay at the thought. Someday, she was going to ask Adam how he did it.

Charlie rang the doorbell a second time, but there was no answer.

"Hello?" she called out.

"Who is it?" asked a voice from behind the house.

"It's me," answered Charlie.

"Who's 'me'?"

Charlie followed the voice, and found Adam dressed in a faded pair of overalls, kneeling in the middle of an amply-sized vegetable garden. Enormous oleanders with white flowers lined the generous-sized backyard, providing unexpected privacy to such a large plot of open ground.

"Oh, Charlie, it's you," observed Adam, getting to his feet. "Come on in," he invited.

"It's a beautiful garden," said Charlie. "This must have taken you a lot of work."

"My skin is sensitive to the sun, so I do most of my gardening at night," explained Adam.

"I always wanted to start a garden back home in Montana," said Charlie, "but we lived in an apartment complex."

"That's too bad," said Adam. "But, you're in California now. Maybe it's not to late to begin."

"You give away the vegetables you grow, don't you?" conjectured Charlie. Adam wasn't going to say, but she could see by the look on his face that she had guessed correctly. "I thought so," she laughed.

"Why?" asked Adam. "Why would I do something like that?"

"I don't know," she shrugged. "You're not the kind of person who would go to all this work, simply for yourself. There had to be another angle."

"You mean self-gratification?"

"Yeah," replied Charlie. "Nobody does anything unless they think there's something in it for themselves."

"You don't really believe everyone is like that, do you?"

"Why not? It's true, isn't it?"

"No, I'm glad to say it isn't, Charlie," answered Adam, "not everyone-- not Christians. You see, Christians operate on the principal of love. According to the Scriptures, there is nothing greater than love. The fulfillment of the first and second commandments is to love: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.'" Charlie's face suddenly brightened.

"Is that why someone who calls himself a Christian can do something that's against his faith? because he's not doing it in love?" asked Charlie, suddenly remembering Scottie Zimmerman.

"That's correct," replied Adam, sensing that she was resolving a question.

"So that person wasn't exercising Christianity because he wasn't exercising love," concluded Charlie.
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