Love Your Neighbor!

I was recently spending time with my boys, when we began to hear screaming coming from the neighbors yard. My son looked out to see our neighbor in tears and distress. Not sure what to do, I began getting ready to go over there. Before I could step out the door, I received a call from them. In a tearful quiver, she apologized for screaming so loud and told me that her father had passed away. In anguish she was screaming in prayer for the father she had lost. Her first instinct following her meltdown was to call me! She knew that I cared, and she knew that I would be there for her. I let her cry and prayed with her as she went off to continue her emotional journey to the funeral home.

What caused her to call me? I am but a neighbor, a person that just happens to live across the street. I am not family, I have no relation, and yet I was the one she called. The answer is that I have worked hard to develop a relationship with her. I have worked with her, taken care of her child, baked goodies for her, and spent time just hanging out at their fire pit, roasting marshmallows. We have gone far beyond the normal neighbor relationship of smiling at a each other as you happen to leave for work at the same time, or the polite wave as you drive by them daily.

Our family has personally developed relationships with each of the neighbors that surround us. We know their names, where they work, what religion they are, and what they like to do for fun. They invite us to birthdays and have each spent time at our home. I have baked countless goodies for them, and exchanged Christmas cards. We watch each others homes when on vacation, and we have each others numbers in our phone.

So, why did the woman across the street call me in her time of need? It wasn't because we were just neighbors, we had become friends. In Mark 12:29-31, the teachers of the law asked Jesus what the most important commandment was. His response: “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.” Not only are we told to love our neighbor, it is the 2nd greatest commandment!

Let us remember to take the time to get to know the people around us. Instead of giving the usual quick smile and then running to your car for work, say, "Hi" and take a moment to get to know them. Bake them something, mow their lawn, rake their leaves, or grab the lawn chairs and just sit outside and roast some marshmallows. It doesn't have to be a fancy, drawn out plan; it just needs to come from the heart. Remind yourself of how you like to be treated, cared for, and apply that same courtesy to those around you. Take a little time today to Love Your Neighbor!


Joy in the Small Things

We recently received a call that a church was in desperate need of a drummer. Their current drummer had a family emergency and would be unable to play that Sunday. A couple of members of the church worked with my husband and knew that we had a son who played drums. They contacted us, in hope that our son would be free to help them out. He willingly accepted and eagerly went to help them in their time of need. As we walked into the church, it was just a small chapel that actually was held in a funeral home. There were about 30 members in this small room, and yet you could tell that each one was happy to be there.

Now, our son is only 14. He has played drums since he was 7, but he is still very young. He played with them, and the joy that overcome the group was amazing. They instantly fell in love with him, begging him to come back soon. When the worship team had finished playing their last song, the woman at the piano jumped up instantly, ran over to my son, and grabbed him in a tight embrace. Joy covered her face as she confessed from the platform, "You are such an inspiration!." The bass player stopped everyone to say how you can learn drums, but some things can't be learned, and our son just "had it". The man beamed from ear to ear as he had proclaimed this statement.

As I watched all this take place, of course I was proud of my son, but the thing I saw most was the amazing joy that this group of people felt. They were so happy to have someone play drums with them, that they didn't care he was only a teen. They didn't sit with their list of rules of who could play and who qualified for what; they had a need, and this person willing came to help them. They didn't have much, and were so grateful for just a little bit of help. The hug that lady gave my son, was full of so much heart and gratitude that you could see and "feel" that it came straight from her soul. Later the sermon was on rules and how we as people have a long list of rules that everyone has to follow. We create all these laws that no one can ever match up to. We put barriers between us and forget the love. This little church reminded me of why I love ministry. I love those small churches, that start out with all heart. I love those who just want to give all that they have, without all the rules attached to it. They give with free abandonment; they love unconditionally.

It is easy to get caught up in the numbers, the rules, the laws, and the little unimportant details. Let us remember the joy we had when we were young and started something new. When you had nothing, and yet felt you had everything. When we were full of joy at the tiniest gesture of help and love, for we knew that God had an amazing journey ahead of us! He still does! Have you life? Have you breath? Don't stop dreaming of God's plans for you and may you find joy in the little things along the way!