Overcoming the walls around us to reach out to our neighbors
This morning during my devotions I read Mark 12:30, in which Jesus, when asked what the greatest commandment was replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Now, I know this passage well enough to recognize that Jesus is saying that in a sense everyone is our neighbor. But it also made me think, ‘Lord in the midst of all that has been going on in our families’ lives and in my attempt to reach out and serve new people lately, I haven’t connected with my own actual neighbors!
So today I was determined to connect with some neighbors I haven’t seen in a while. However, for some reason even though the weather was beautiful today, there weren’t many people out to connect with. So I just prayed, ‘Lord, please give me the opportunity to reach out to at least one of my neighbors and to meet them at their point of need.’
By late afternoon, the connection with the neighbor happened. They have cute little dogs…we have three little kids…and they drew each other like magnets! Before long, Kecia and I were getting to catch up with a woman who lives across the street from us.
After some time of talking about kids, dogs and the weather, I felt moved to ask her how she and her husband were doing. And as she shared about her husbands struggles at work and some other challenges, I just kept asking more questions, trying to get a fuller sense of their needs. By the time she was done sharing, she said, ‘Wow, thanks for caring enough to ask!’ I said, ‘Of course, and I’ll pray for those things, and ask you how things are going.’
One of the cool things that I’ve noticed in recent years, irregardless if who I am talking to, most people do not mind if you ask if you can pray for them. Instead, people seem to really appreciate it. And the great thing about this is:
- Offering to pray for someone shows them that you care
- Offering to pray for someone often helps open them up to spiritual conversations.
So next time someone shares something with you that they are struggling with, ask if it is OK to pray for them, and watch for what God will do. Just remember, if you say you’re going to pray for someone- don’t forget to do it. Don’t forget to pray. Then watch for that God does!