The past few months though there’s really been something pretty awesome between us and a neighbor. It started with their daughter (who’s a few years older than our oldest) hanging out with our kids playing around inside and out. Sometimes eating dinner with us, too. A few months ago, my wife started talking more and more with her mother; and just recently I’ve been getting to know her dad too. Past few weeks we’ve spent several hours working on cutting down trees, moving leaves, and just talking. [Another neighbor started working on their yard a LOT, which got me re-energized … which this neighbor said energized him to do some stuff as well]
This past Friday they watched our kids for the night, and we had a night out. Last night we had their daughter over to spend the night as well.
Sometimes I’ve felt odd knowing people really well when I can’t say I feel the same with those that live near me. Why is that? I can recall when I was a kid that our family knew quite well a few families near us; I know my wife and her parents are close with their neighbors as well. I’m thankful to have had this opening, this opportunity.
I’m aware that neighbor simply means ‘one leaving near another’, but I’ve always thought that it should mean more. I read Jesus ask the question “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor …?” with regards to the story of the Good Samaritan and wonder if it doesn’t imply that being a neighbor means more than just living near another… clearly most know of the verse that says to “Love your neighbor as yourself” …
I don’t think loving them in the way that I think of loving my family is exactly appropriate, just as I don’t think loving other men is the same. So what is it?
- Caring about them (knowing what they are going through)
- Helping when in need (might be as simple as sharing sugar/milk or much more)
- be together (share dinner, hang out, etc.)
- be encouraging
- be honest
I think of the community mentioned in the Bible; the one body of believers; the church. I’m sure all of this applies to the church but doesn’t my neighbor too?
Our time might be short. Things might change.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”