How well do you know any of your neighbors?
A couple of years ago, Pew Research (https://www.pewresearch.org) released some data on neighbors in America. Here’s a quick summary of their findings or you can read the article at https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/15/facts-about-neighbors-in-u-s/:
- A majority of Americans (57%) say they know only some of their neighbors; far fewer (26%) say they know most of them.
- Even in a digital age, neighborly interactions are still more likely to happen in person than via text or email.
- About two-thirds of Americans who know their neighbors would trust them with their house keys.
- Social events among neighbors are relatively rare.
- Rural residents are more likely to know most or all neighbors – but not to interact with them.
I think neighbors should be important to followers of Jesus since He told us that loving our neighbors as we love ourselves is second most important behind loving God. As missionaries, it’s also important to understand our culture and the unique opportunities and challenges that it offers, particularly as we think about how to bring the Gospel to every man, woman and child to whom we are sent.
For a long time, I’ve been convinced that it’s nearly impossible to love someone if you don’t know their name, especially when they live near you. Sure, you can come upon a stranger “neighbor” and love them as Jesus shows us in the parable of the good Samaritan, but it’s kind of hard to say I love someone when I’ve never bothered to learn anything about them.
If we’re average, it’s probably reasonable to assume that some of us don’t know our neighbors or many of our neighbors. Perhaps the best Gospel work you can do in the coming days or weeks is to find ways to make an introduction to the folks who live in your neighborhood and learn a few names. Maybe for those of you who are living through late winter like me, you can help clear a few driveways or walks when the next snowfall comes (you may find that some of them love you back when your snowblower dies and they return the favor…). I think we’re all ready for Spring to come and for COVID to end, perhaps it means hosting a neighborhood celebration barbeque when the warmer weather arrives.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult, but it will require action. What could you do in the next week or two to show love to the people whom God has placed in proximity with you? Where might God already be at work, a step or two ahead of you? How could you join Him in a practical demonstration of love and compassion? What might change in our neighborhoods if we started loving our neighbors more than we do currently?
Here’s praying that you learn some new names and find some ways to demonstrate Christ-like love in the week to come.
P.S. For those of you who had interest in the What Does it Mean to be an Apostle webinar, the next date is Wednesday, February 24 at 10 a.m. EST.
What Does It Mean to Be an Apostle?
Move beyond the foundational description of the apostle into a deeper level of understanding and practice. In this webinar you’ll gain a better understanding of the functionality that apostles bring, how to overcome the stigmas that are commonly associated with apostles, and uncover four different types of apostles: the pioneer, the miner, the networker, and the mobilizer. In addition to content, participants will have the opportunity to engage in Q&A and will receive a bonus PDF to help process the webinar and make plans to take steps forward. Join apostolic practitioners Nathan Brewer, Brandon Kelly, Simon Harris, and Mark Cotterill in this exploration of AQ!
Date: Wed, Feb 24, 2021
Time: 10:00 AM EST
Cost: FREE, but please register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/what-does-it-mean-to-be-an-apostle-tickets-142006953621
CGGC eNews—Vol. 15, No. 8