How To Neighbor

How To Neighbor

DAY 7 OF 10

Get Off Your Boat and Pull Up a Chair

Yesterday, we met Andy and Sylvia. Why did they move into their neighborhood? To get to know their neighbors and represent Christ. How are they doing it? Cookouts. Why did Jesus come from heaven to earth? To get to know us, so we could live deep and satisfying lives. That’s why He came, but how did He come? Jesus Himself said, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking.” But He didn’t have to say it. The scriptural crumbs from these culinary episodes are proof Jesus ate and drank His way through the gospels: loaves and fishes for 5,000, the woman at the well, water into wine, Zacchaeus’ house, the last supper, lunch with Levi the tax collector, food with Pharisees, the wedding supper of the lamb, “I was thirsty,” the parable of the Great Banquet, and a freshly caught cookout of fire-grilled fish with His first disciples.

If we’re called to be co-workers of Jesus’ mission, His why, then shouldn’t we also join Andy and Sylvia to practice His how? When He asked us to drink and break bread in remembrance of Him, it was at a meal in a home. Sharing meals with our neighbors is the most time-tested, practical, and enjoyable way to get to know them. It’s a shared pursuit to quench our thirst for physical, emotional, and spiritual sustenance. At the table is where Jesus shared Himself. So if we’re here to share Him, let’s pull up a chair!

Every meal Jesus shared shows us how to neighbor, but for brevity let’s examine his last. After the Last Supper, Jesus shared His last breakfast. Remember when Jesus first met Peter? He lured him from his fishing boat into a new living—fishing for men.

A few days later, Jesus showed up, resurrected from the dead, to find Peter and His disciples falling back on their old fishing careers. But their fallback failed. They fished all night and caught nothing … nothing until Jesus told them to cast to the other side, where they pulled 153 large fish up from the deep. When they dragged the catch to shore, Jesus was already grilling His own catch. After they ate, Jesus questioned Peter’s love for Him. Peter affirmed it, and Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Three times (the same number Peter denied Jesus at the cross), Jesus repeated the question and the command. After this conversation, Peter shepherded the beginning of what we now call Christianity.

What does this fishing meal have to do with how we neighbor? How many of us are in Peter’s boat? Jesus called us to fish for men, but we’ve cast our nets to fallback missions, elusive dreams, maybe the American dream. We’ve been fishing all night—all our lives—and our houses, bank accounts, and garages may be full, but our nets are neither deep nor full. So, we write a check, take a trip, or drop off a blanket to try and quiet Jesus’ repetitive questions and commands, “Do you love me? Feed my lambs.” This isn’t to say that we should quit our jobs, stop writing checks, and become eating, traveling, evangelists and preachers. We shouldn’t. But we’re all called as shepherds to feed and care for Jesus’ lambs. The risen Christ is waiting on the beach, waving us in from our boats, to break bread with the poor, with sinners, with captives, and to share His Good News with everyone at our tables.

Today’s step: Ask the Holy Spirit to talk to you about whether you’re serving your Father or your fallback. Invite some neighbors—especially those not like you—to a meal.

Principle Three: Relief and restoration are different—but they both matter.
We decide to run fast with relief or go long with restoration. Relief is immediate, temporary help to reduce suffering during and after a crisis. Restoration happens through long-term relationships which rebuild people, families, and communities back to their God-designed wholeness. Both matter.

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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