Thursday - Act On It - Neighbours to Acquaintances
Time and availability allows us to get acquainted with those near us. You may be discouraged, thinking I’m talking about adding things to your already busy schedule. Sometimes that’s necessary, but usually it’s just about making intentional choices to Love God, Love Neighbour in the midst of daily life.
Think about your downtime – how can downtime connect me with neighbours?
First, be interruptible. I used to have a retired neighbour who was often outside, and always up for a chat. His availability meant I could ask him for a ladder, to get the mail while we were away, etc. My availability to stop and chat meant he could ask me questions about the theology of the church he grew up attending.
You can also make other choices. Stick around on weekends instead of going away. Play in the front yard instead of the back. Putter around your garden, walk the neighbourhood, and read on your porch.
Ask questions, talk about the weather, laugh about something that happened. Ask for referrals – who did your driveway/kitchen/landscaping? Ask about the neighbourhood – how’s X doing? Share something – let someone park in your driveway for a party, or share newspapers.
As you do, get to know their name, and then a bit of their story.
Challenge: Look at your calendar and see how you spend your time over the last two weeks. Reflect on how this compares with your priorities. How can you spend more time with your neighbours, to get acquainted?
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:34-40 ESV
Spoiler Alert – Stop reading now if you haven’t seen the Internship, and still want to!
The premise of the Internship, is that a competition for a Google internship. It essentially comes down to a team of misfits and a pompous rich kid and his team of stars. The bad guy makes it clear he doesn’t have time for anyone but those he thinks are important.
This becomes most clear in his interactions with a scruffy headphone guy who is painfully shy, and never listens to music but wears the headphones because it lets him keep to himself. One of the two bumbling protagonists goes out of his way to befriend headphone guy, while the pompous villain makes fun of him.
At the final announcement of who won the internship, the pompous guy can’t believe he lost, and interrupts the announcement to say, “lets get someone down here who matters.”
Headphone guy appears, is revealed to be the head of a major department at Google, and he’s been listening to the whole thing. He tells the villain – you haven’t shown very much googliness. We learned earlier in the movie, this googliness is all about community and creativity. But the villain says, “what does that even mean?”
The headphone guy sums it up, “The fact you don’t even know is why you’ll never work here.”
Jesus says this about his kingdom. Compassion is a sign that you get what my kingdom is all about. Its part of kingdomliness. The way you treat those who don’t seem important, is actually very important.
Jesus even puts himself in their shoes – says it’s like you’re serving him when you serve others.
He goes so far as to say that this is how he sorts out those who want to be in his kingdom, with him, and those who want to take a pass. He says its like separating sheep and goats – the ones who want to be in his kingdom will act like it, and those who don’t, won’t. He says this twice, and I only read one version here, which is the positive describing who gets in, but he also tells the story in the negative, describing who stays out. What becomes clear is that we choose God’s kingdom, or separation from him, not just with words but with actions.
We’ll see tomorrow how this applies to our neighbours.
Question: How do these six actions benefit the recipient, the doer, and Jesus?