I love Christmas! I love the music, the festivities, the gifts and the amazing light displays. A few years back we lived in a different state. We had some neighbors that went all out with their lighting display. The lights were synced with Christmas music that played from speakers in the yard, and you could even tune to a particular station on your radio and listen to the music while watching the synchronized light display from the warmth of your car. It was amazing!
While I thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of their light display, I never met those neighbors. I don’t know their names. I don’t remember anything about them other than their light display. I don’t think that is exactly what Jesus had in mind when He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
As Christians, we often talk about evangelism with grand and serious language. We tend to imagine evangelism as a great crusade or a door-to-door sales strategy, but Jesus didn’t think about it like that. He never used the word, “evangelism.” He never passed out tracts or put up billboards.
HE SIMPLY ASKED US TO BE INTENTIONALLY KIND TO THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE AROUND US.
He told us to do really nice things for our neighbors. You know, love them like you love yourself or your own family. It may not be rocket science, but it is certainly not common in our current culture.
We pack our schedules with so much stuff that we never have an opportunity to interact with our neighbors. We work hard, squeeze in some church meetings and sign the kids up for every possible extra-curricular activity. Consequently, we roll into the garage just in time to eat a quick bite, help with homework and fall into bed. This is the norm in our culture, but it is difficult to merge this lifestyle with the call of Jesus to, “love your neighbors.”
So, how exactly do we love our neighbors?
HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE STEPS THAT CAN MAKE A PROFOUND DIFFERENCE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD:
- Be intentional – it will not happen unless you actually make time.
- Learn the names of every neighbor on your street, block, dorm hall, etc.
- Then get out, introduce yourself and make conversation.
- Continue to be social. Create opportunities to interact with your neighbors.
- Learn about their lives, family, needs, hurts, desires, etc.
- Eventually, after they know you care, ask how you can pray for them.
- Someday in the future, when they are having dinner with you at your house, it will be natural for you to talk about the One you love, the One who changed your life, the One that loves them also.
Loving your neighbors is the simple strategy of Jesus to change the world. It works. Start with these few simple steps and watch Jesus create an awesome light display in your neighborhood.
By Weston Nichols – Adult Pastor