Jesus calls us to care deeply about Him and those He has placed around us in our families, workplaces and neighborhoods. When asked which commandment was most important, He answered:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself”Matthew 22:37-39
In The Message paraphrase of the Bible, Jesus’ coming is expressed in this way: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14) He came to live among us in order to reach us and love us in ways we could understand. God has placed you in your neighborhood for important reasons as well. Pray through this list of thought-starters below and consider how He might be calling you to love your neighbors in more intentional ways.
Seven Simple Ways to Share God’s Love With Your Neighbors:
- Greet people. Say hello as you walk along your block or work in your yard.
- Go out front. Be intentional about spending time in the more public parts of your yard or building. Rather than sitting on your back patio, put chairs in front of your house.
- Go first. Often people are just waiting for someone else to take the initiative. They may be open to connecting but just haven’t gotten around to starting the connection. Go first by introducing yourself, sharing information, and asking questions.
- Gather contact information. Collect names, phone numbers, and email addresses for those on your block or the floor of your apartment building. Express how you want to help people be connected to each other in times of need. Ask people their permission to share the list on your block or floor.
- Give and receive. Be the neighbor who offers to give help to others, whether it’s loaning out a tool or a cup of sugar for a neighbor’s baking project. Also be willing to receive. Ask for help when you need it, as that can break down barriers.
- Get creative. Consider what makes your neighborhood unique and how you can serve your neighbors in thoughtful ways. What works in your neighborhood may be different from what works in another setting.
- Go before God in prayer for your neighbors. Pray specific prayers when you know neighbors well enough to know their situations. Observe and pray for those you don’t know as well. For example, a house with toys scattered out front is home to a family—even if you don’t know them, pray for God’s grace on their family relationships. Ask God to reveal specific neighbors for whom you can start praying.