What does it mean to be a good neighbor and what are some realistic ways we can practice Biblical hospitality?
Pastor Aaron’s message from last weekend challenged and encouraged us to view our neighborhoods as our mission fields. Whether our “neighbors” are the actual people we live close to, or the co-workers we work alongside, the friends we interact with, or strangers we encounter at the grocery store, there are countless people we come into contact with on a daily basis that we could invite to experience God’s love.
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Being a good neighbor doesn’t need to be complex or overwhelming. Simply offering your presence, love and grace will go a long way in breaking down walls as you forge new relationships or strengthen old ones.Here are five simple ways to be a good neighbor, build relationships and love those around you well:
- Become front porch people. Instead of escaping to the backyard to hang out or relax, try sitting on your front porch or playing in the front yard. As people walk by, use the opportunities to say hello, start conversations, and get to know the people who live in your neighborhood. Ask if there is anything they need or anything you can pray for them about.
- Serve a meal. Food is a universal love language and an easy way to connect with strangers. Has God placed someone on your heart that you could invite over for a warm meal and some good conversation? Be bold and reach out! A conversation around the table, filled with grace, compassion and good listening ears, could be the turning point in someone’s faith journey.
- Meet a tangible need. As you get to know your neighbors, look for opportunities to meet tangible needs. Are there any widows, single parents, or disabled residents that could use your assistance with yard work or home maintenance? Has someone recently experienced a hardship and could appreciate a drop-off of groceries on their doorstep? These are easy ways to love them well.
- Random acts of kindness. When you’re out and about, look for ways to bless others. Maybe you tip your local barista more than they’d expect. Maybe you hand a $5 gift card to someone at the grocery store. Maybe you pay for the order behind you in the drive-thru line. These are easy ways to bring some kindness and love into a world that desperately needs it.
- Slow down and listen. Most of us can be so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our days that we miss the opportunities God puts right in front of us to connect with others. From the people you work with, to the strangers you encounter throughout your day, the best way we can love someone is to truly LISTEN to them. Listen to what’s going on in their lives and pay attention to the ways you can be praying for them or serving them. Click here for some helpful questions you can ask of your neighbor to get to know them better.
Love your neighbors as yourself. Despite any differing beliefs, opinions or behaviors, as followers of Jesus we are to pave the way in showing radical kindness and love to others. May the world know Him through us!
Pastor Aaron shared a book resource last Sunday with five simple, biblical, and relational practices that everyone can use to reach their neighbors, show them love, and change their world. Click here to purchase and watch the video from Pastor Aaron below as he walks his neighborhood and shares more about it!