The church I get to pastor, Multiply Church, recently participated in an incredible display of church unity with over 100 other churches in the Charlotte metro area.
Local churches of different socioeconomic, denominational, and ethnic make-ups together focused on loving our neighbor. The reach of this effort spanned over 60,000 people here in the Charlotte metro area.
As you play those numbers out, 60,000 people with 8 neighbors each is a potential of over 480,000 lives impacted by this effort! All this to say…the opportunity the church has to make an impact in our local communities is huge!
And it all starts with a simple command.
As we think about the greatest command Jesus gave…to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves…I have to admit that I’ve not always been the best neighbor.
In fast, when we originally moved to the Matthews area almost six and half years ago, we decided to rent for a short time while we discerned where best to set up permanently. Our neighbor right next door was named Sicily. Sicily was like 130 years old…and she was amazing!
She was originally from a Caribbean island where everyone eats only greens and mangos for every meal so even though she was nearly a century old, she was active and could easily pass for being in her late 60’s or early 70’s. I guess there’s something to that whole clean eating/ natural diet thing!
Even though we knew her name and would say hi whenever we saw her outside, we didn’t have much interaction with Sicily. One day, after returning from a week at the beach, Sicily rang our doorbell. I welcomed her in and said it was good to see her.
Upon entering the foyer, she asked if we had been out of town. Without considering why she might be asking, I told her how we had been on vacation and shared some details of our time away.
What she said next convicted me about my neighboring…
“Oh, well I had picked some fresh tomatoes from my garden last week and left a basket for you at your door when you didn’t answer, but since you were out of town, they rotted. You should let me know when you will be out of town. That’s what neighbors do.”
I immediately knew she was right and looking back on it, I wonder if it was the difference in our stage of life that kept us from really acting like neighbors. In fast, there was a family who lived a couple streets over who we had befriended because our kids played so well together. And they actually knew we were on vacation!
(More to come on neighboring next week…)