Isn’t it so amazing how we all seem to have lost that connectedness of the community? I can recall, as probably you can too how close people once were in the neighborhood. When I grew up, we knew everyone and everyone knew us. We were welcome in one another’s homes and welcome to one another’s things (within reason).
Today however, it seems everyone has lost sight, not only of what it means to be community focused, but even the simple truth that we have neighbors. How well do you know the person living next to you. How about three doors down? What about the next block over? The reality is that life is getting the better of many of us. Preoccupation with what is happening inside the four walls of our own homes and businesses has become the order of the day.
Knowing our neighbor is more than participating in block parties and neighborhood watches. It goes much further than PTA meetings and the occasional volunteer work at the local soup kitchen or youth center. It’s all about really connecting, understanding, and the invested interest in the people you meet in your everyday activities. Whether you’re the CEO of a major corporation, a workaholic telecommuter, or a stay at home mom, there is always an opportunity to get connected to your neighbor.
There were sarcastic people in Jesus’s day who questioned him as to who exactly was their neighbor. He pointed out through a parable not only the definition of who their neighbor was, but the lengths to which one should be willing to go for them. True, that level of interaction requires love unparalleled, passion deeply rooted, and a level of sensitivity that is able to handle the responsibility that comes with it; but the greater truth is that if we were that neighbor we saw, we would hope and pray that someone would seek to know us. We are required to be able to give what we don’t possess. That would be foolish. We are only charged with having the heart to reach out and offer that which will lift our neighbors and bring glory to the one who created us all.
Many times the neighbor you choose to take time to know may never tell you or thank you for doing whatever it is that made a difference in their life. Sometimes, things are reciprocated in ways that are completely unrelated. Christ did however say that to the degree that you do a thing, it shall be measured back to you. Sometimes, when you give, it is compounded, as he says, ” good measure, pressed down, shaken together, to the full and running over.”
In my recent attempt at learning a new language, I discovered that within the typical greeting in the Mandarin Chinese language when you are asked how are you doing, if your response anything other than one of being well they will drop everything they are doing to serve and tend to you until they are assured that all is well with you. This is not uncommon. In the Hebrew language, Shalom is not merely a greeting as if to say hello. It is translated to mean peace. Yet, deeper than how we might wish some one peace, the implication is that there is a desire to know if you are at peace, whole within yourself, and lacking or in want for nothing.
Look beyond whatever four walls has seemed to shielded you from knowing your neighbor. Take time getting to know them and allow them to know you. When you know your neighbor and they know you, a community is strengthened. Remember, it’s not always in the big things. Often the little things makes a world of difference and matters the most.
QUESTION: Do you know who your neighbor? What has been your greatest interaction with them?
- New neighbors? Build a lasting relationship with these housewarming gifts (personalcreations.com)
- National Night Out: How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors? (forbes.com)
- 29th Annual National Night Out brings out record numbers in Redmond (redmond-reporter.com)
- How To Make Your Street Into A Neighborhood (wired.com)
- Love Thy Neighbor? (americanthinker.com)
- How to get along with the neighbors (hamptonroads.com)