By Kendi Fiscus
We are true neighbors when we have compassion and mercy on those around us, as Christ has compassion and mercy on us. When we dwell in fellowship with our Lord and invite others into that fellowship, our joy becomes truly complete. But what does that look like on a day to day basis? Dwell in Christ, ask Him to show you how you can identify and use your gifts to show Him to the people in our lives. He is faithful!
Is your gift hospitality? Consider a block party, game night, or just coffee with someone whose needs God is placing before you.
Is your gift teaching? Consider hosting a neighborhood Bible club for kids, or a Bible reading/study group, and of course take advantage of any teaching opportunities at Evangel that suit your gifts, as well.
Is your gift house or handy work? Certainly, there are places at Evangel where those gifts could benefit the church, but perhaps those gifts could bless those outside Evangel as well. Helping a neighbor with a home project, or just helping clean the kitchen while you visit could be an act of mercy and compassion, giving them a glimpse of Jesus.
Is your gift encouragement? Dwell in Christ so that when you encounter someone who is struggling with discouragement, you can offer them compassion and mercy – a listening ear, a hug, and an understanding spirit can be similar to Christ’s many acts of reaching out to the hurting with comfort and hope.
Is your gift evangelism? Be strong and courageous! Dwell in Christ so that you speak the truth in love, with confidence and humility.
Creative Ways to Connect with Others and Be a Neighbor
No matter what our gifts are, we can (and should!) make ourselves available to the people around us. Spending time in your front yard, on your front porch, and going for walks around your neighborhood are ways do just that, generating interactions that would otherwise be blocked by the fences between our homes. Ask the cashier at the grocery store and the teller at the bank how they’re doing, and listen to their answer with care. Christ’s mercy and love shine through these small acts of openness. Over time, as you encounter people time and again, you may find that God begins to give you unexpected friendships. Consider praying that God would give you opportunities to invite these new friends to come to Easter Brunch, read the Bible one on one, come to Bible Study or Worship, or maybe their children would like to join us at Youth Group, KidsQuest, or VBS!
Being a good neighbor is dwelling in Christ so that we are equipped to use the gifts He has given us for precisely the people He has planned for our path. Being a true neighbor means coming near to struggling people, allowing them to experience the compassion of Christ. In doing these things, we practice the holy work of being a good neighbor.