Won’t you be my Neighbor?

Several months back, I wrote about how my wife and I were looking for a new house. Our family of five had been living in a three-bedroom townhome and, while we were very much enjoying our location and our comfortable abode, we felt an increasing need for more space as our kids would grow older.

So, after many weeks of actively searching with our real estate agent and placing bids on multiple houses, we were blessed to reach a deal for what we believe to be our dream home.

Striking a balance between needs and wants, and ensuring we could still afford this house without financial strain, we decided to take the plunge and move our family.

God Neighbor 7Thankfully, our new home is only a block or two away from our old one, allowing us to enjoy the same amenities and neighborhood friends with no disruption to our family routine.

Truly, we feel the whole process of finding and moving into this house has been providential, and we firmly believe that – God willing – this will be our family home into our retirement years (which, with three kids aged four and younger, seems eons away).

As we settle into our new place, though, I am reminded of the journey Jesus’ apostles embarked on following His Ascension into Heaven.

Commissioned to proclaim His gospel message to all people (Matthew 28:19), they went in different directions to introduce Jesus’ Good News to as many as they could, happily and openly welcoming disciples into the faith.

In some ways, I feel my family is called to do the same in our new neighborhood.

It’s been nearly two thousand years since His crucifixion and Resurrection, but Jesus continues today to send His disciples to profess His beauty and wonder to the world.

With this in mind, I know moving to a new neighborhood should not stifle my striving to spread Jesus’ Good News – it should only strengthen it.

So I’ve come to recognize that, while continuing to nourish our friendships in our old neighborhood, my family is also gifted with a chance to live and share God’s presence in making new friends.

God Neighbor 3How I interact with others when I meet them is an opportunity to innocently but proudly present God to a stranger.

For instance, seeing a person walking a dog on the street is a perfect chance to say hello and pass along wishes for a great – and blessed – day.

Whenever a neighborhood child knocks on our door to canvas for a school fundraiser, I am invited to show charity for a good cause and help our community, while wishing the young boy or girl well throughout their school year.

Each morning when my wife and I bring our kids to the school bus stop, we can either drum up conversation with the other parents and kids, or isolate ourselves and dismiss a perfect time to grow friendship.

Having guests come into our home for a meal or visit, we also have opportunity to share our life rooted in God through various ways, both powerful and subtle.

Having items such as crosses or plaques with Biblical passages hanging on our walls, or saying grace before we eat together, our friends can easily witness God’s presence in our home.

In a manner far less obvious, we can also reflect God’s glorious image through polite and respectful conversation, genuine interest in their lives and loving support for them in their needs.

You see, as followers of Christ, we are given a great ability to reveal God’s love to those around us, but with this comes responsibility to humbly share the Lord’s presence through our daily living.

In order for the world to feel God giving Himself freely each day, we as His children must offer others a glimpse of His loving invitation to get to know Him by our welcoming actions.

God Neighbor 2Through our hospitality, perhaps others will feel inclined to explore relationship with God by welcoming Him into their homes and lives.