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?
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:1-9 ESV)
Here we see Jesus in delegation mode. He’s spent loads of time with his disciples, teaching them with his words and way of life. Now, it’s time for them to learn by doing. They have been in gathered mode, now is time to scatter. So he sends them out with little…no moneybag, knapsack, sandals. He sends them with so little they will need to have refrigerator rights in other people’s homes to survive.
He wants them to rely on others. Full dependence on others, will teach them full dependence on him.
He asks them to find these people of peace by saying “peace on this house”. It almost sounds like a code word, but this was more about who the people are, and what God has already been doing in their lives to prepare them for the missionary’s arrival, and less about their response to a code word! If God has been making these people seek the peace of the kingdom of God, a travelling preaching proclaiming that message will be welcomed.
Look how deeply he wants these relationships to go. He wants them to stay with one family, and not go from house to house. He wants them to become family, to be vulnerable, completely known and trusted by others.
Question: Describe what you think a person of peace would be like. How would the disciples’ travels be different if they had more supplies?