How To Neighbor

How To Neighbor

DAY 6 OF 10

“Do you know your next-door neighbor?”

-Mother Teresa


It is so hard sometimes to just do what we know we are supposed to do. Jesus said love our neighbor—so we buy shoes from a company that gives a pair away. We write a check, send a box, donate old clothes, and maybe even raise enough money to go on a missions trip somewhere far away. But, what if mission is what we go on every time we walk out the door? What if loving our neighbor is a relationship? What if we don’t have to travel far to get close to people who are distant from God?

Listen, international missions, donations, and socially responsible shopping are all good and necessary things. However, when Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, it was not merely a figurative statement meant to encourage us to make short-term decisions to benefit strangers far off. We are commanded to actually know and deeply love our literal neighbors, too! Jesus was also talking about: the family across the street, the barista who always gets our drink wrong, the hairstylist, the person across the cubicle, the guy on our shift, the man in the median, the woman on the street corner, and the student a desk away. Do you know your neighbor?

How do we know Jesus was talking about loving the people right in front of us? First, He lived His entire life loving the person in front of Him. Second, when He was asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He responded with a story about a man who stopped, then stayed to help someone right in front of him. Here’s the deal: when we put all our neighboring into efforts that bring momentary relief for people far away, we miss out on the restoration that comes from long-term relationships with others.

At Life.Church we like to say: relief and restoration are different—but they both matter. Relief can happen without relationship, but restoration can’t. If people don’t have food, clothing, or shelter, they need immediate relief. However, when we choose to get to know people, we see each other for more than their needs and our resources. Then, restoration can happen. Putting gas in an old, beat-up truck might make it run for a while, but restoring it would take countless hours and attention to detail.

Restoration through relationship sounds hard, but don’t be discouraged. It’s the hardest to start which becomes the most meaningful to do. Here are some ideas to get to know your neighbors: think about where you go for food, coffee, gas, car repairs, haircuts, etc. Become a regular in those places. Tip well and start meaningful conversations. Put your BBQ, swing set, or picnic table in your front yard. Go to parks. Invite your neighbors over for a front-yard cookout. Swap tools, lawn equipment, pet-sitting, and weekly outdoor chores with neighbors. Bake something for your neighbors. Ask your co-worker what they’d do for a living if money weren’t an issue. Invite and drive your kids’ friends to church. It won’t take long before you start caring about these people. When you do, restoration will begin to happen in you, your neighbors, and your community.

Today’s step: Watch today’s video with Pastor Craig and two regular neighbors who started doing what they could. Then, pick a few ideas from the list above and start getting to know your neighbors this week.


About this Plan

How To Neighbor

What if we don’t have to travel far to get close to people who are distant from God? What if Christians were the best neighbors? Would your street change? Would heaven be fuller? A long time ago, a religious leader asked...

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