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?
This week we’ve been exploring the story of Levi meeting Jesus, and having a big party with his former partners in crime, now his friends. Jesus’s transformative effect brings Levi’s colleagues into a new friendship with Levi first, then that friendship brings his friends into contact with Jesus.
It’s no different today, this is very reason we held an outdoor movie night. We brought a bunch of people together over a great feast of popcorn. Our online users met one another, and made some new friends.
This app and web site is meant to be more than a transaction, more than something to watch/listen to. It’s meant to bring us into community. It’s meant to be made up of real people, in real community with one another.
Obviously movie nights and apps are large scale. But it depends on the small scale. It depends on people like you. You can be a Levi.
At parties, people mingle and meet, and often discover things in common.
So, have some people over to dinner, see what happens. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Or maybe have a hockey watching party, a playdate, a block party, whatever your scene is.
Through that kind of party, I hope you and some people you know and work with, or have helped, will become friends, and friends can talk about what really matters. When followers of Jesus are present in the room and real deep things of life come up, I think that’s when Jesus enters the conversation, just like at Levi’s table.
When he throws a great feast, his partners in crime learn the money grubbing tax collector actually isn’t driven by money anymore, but now he’s driven by love for Jesus, which makes him love them. Imagine the transformative effect on their lives. More than that, they just met a Jewish rabbi who will actually eat and drink with them, get to know them, love them, despite the risks, rather than standing outside and shaking his head.
So, go and show your neighbours the same! Learn their names, stories, needs, and then become friends.
Challenge: Plan a party, big or small! Please tell me the story, I’d love to hear how it goes.