Lately, I’ve been considering closely the value and gift that we are given by having neighbors. To be clear, I’m not just talking about the ones I like, and have all things common with– though I’ll add here how wonderful those kind are. I mean all our neighbors. If I believe that we were placed in this home specifically by the workings of God– which I do– then I’ll have to take it a step further and say that, our neighbors are the exact people intended to be in our lives as well.
Did you know there are 38 verses in the Bible about loving your neighbors? It’s possible, and I’ll go further and say unarguable, that we have a responsibly to love our neighbors. It’s not given to us as an optional suggestion. We ought to love them.
How do you get your guts up, and go be nice to a neighbor? I would love to here what you do. I have only one idea…besides waving like a fool and smiling big until they must notice me…I bake.
As a family, for the last five years, we have handed out Christmas cookies/cards/whatever small gift I had the time and money for, to our neighbors. We have done this in four locations. The very first year, I knew I never wanted to stop. We met neighbors that we lived next to three years and never saw. They were nice people that we never made time for, never got to know, and never had the chance to share Jesus with. We wasted all those years. I didn’t ever want to do that again.
I guess the old saying, “If you want friends, make yourself friendly.” applies.
I want to be that friendly neighbor. Maybe I’ll come off too nice. Weird. Annoying. I don’t care. We as a family want to love our neighbors, our literal neighbors, with Christ’s love.
Since that first year, I purposed in my heart that, second only to my children and husband, are my neighbors. That is a big part of my ministry as a stay-at-home mom. I have prayed for neighbors for years.
Something strange happened when my heart for the neighbors changed, our family was called upon in trouble. Our door was knocked on for help. We were asked several times to keep an eye on a vacant houses.
We were trusted. They were loved. Friends were made, and the needy were cared for.
I never wait for neighbors to introduce themselves…chances are it will never happen. Not because they aren’t nice, but a direct result of our society turning in, to our own lives, and not towards others. Perhaps we, and I include myself with that pronoun, have busied ourselves so much that we can seem unapproachable.
I never want to give off the impression that I’m too busy to have a relationship with anyone. By God’s grace, I aim to resemble the opposite.
Here at the farm, we have made friends with a sweet, older couple. We have established an understanding that if either household needs anything, we’re apt to do our best for each other. We have a relationship now. We’re friends. They have wealth of knowledge, we have young backs and energetic hands. I am so very thankful to have them in our lives. Now that we have delivered Christmas cookies here, I believe it opens the door for our other neighbors to view us as more than “just another neighbor”. By a small token of food, I believe they understand that we do care about them.
What really baffles people is genuine love. Selfless love. Sacrificial love. Christ’s love. The love that makes no sense, unless you have felt the gentle, commanding, redeeming love yourself. If you have, show it to people that God has purposely placed around you.
You can always start with the neighbors.