A thought by Maria Goff (2017-03-07) from her book, Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want (Kindle Location 1384). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
Margaret and I live in an apartment. What that means is it becomes easy to be annoyed with a barking dog or the noise from a party next door or the stomping on the floor upstairs. But Jesus said one time that we are to love our neighbors. They are very important to Him.
Maria said, “Our neighbors aren’t our projects and we’re not theirs. I’ve learned most of what I know about loving my neighbors by being on the receiving end of the kind of love Jesus talked about from them. When I was in elementary school, a neighbor invited me to go to church with them for the first time. I felt included and it made me feel loved. In college, when my friend in the next dorm room asked me to join her for the weekend to visit family, I felt invited and it made me feel loved. I rented a guesthouse during college, and the owners of the main home welcomed me over for dinner and it made me feel loved. And when we moved into our house and the neighborhood women gathered for a tea party, I felt celebrated and it made me feel loved. Invite, include, welcome, and celebrate the people around you, and you’ll be doing exactly what Jesus was talking about.”
She says, “There are thirty-seven houses in our two-block neighborhood. I could tell you who lives in every one. We don’t pick our neighbors, we just get them. I think God made it that way on purpose so we wouldn’t get to choose.”
She later says, “All of us have either come from a neighborhood or we live in one. It doesn’t really matter how you define a neighborhood, as long as we recognize that we’re a part of one. Stop waiting for a plan, or the annual barbecue, or a homeowners’ association meeting. Just go love people. Start next door. Do it across the street. If the most important thing to God is our faith expressed in love, caring for our neighbors is one of the easiest ways to do it. You don’t need to call it a ‘missions trip’ because it isn’t one. It’s just a walk around the block.”
I need to get back to doing that. How about you?