October 14, 2014 | by: 0 Comments|
When was the last conversation you had with your neighbor? Becky and I love to connect with our
neighbors. Years ago, in our former neighborhood, we joined forces with several of our friends to hold a “Welcome to Spring” BBQ every May. Then in October we would have a “Fall festival”—complete with a fire pit, apple cider and smores. It was always a lot of fun. Our goal was to get to know those who lived around us.
In Colossians 4 the Apostle Paul tells us as believers, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
In other words, Paul is suggesting that we get in such close contact with our neighbors that we are able to speak to them with gracious and salty speech and answer their questions. If you wish to introduce people to the God who created them, who loves them, and who longs to save them, you must get near them. You must develop friendships with people far from God.
Over the years, I have run across the misconception that people think, “Well, sure, it is easy for you to be in relationship with people who need God. You’re a pastor!” But understand, I am surrounded by church people all day! For me getting close to people who need Christ is harder than you think. It takes intentionality.
Jesus was intentional when he called Zacchaeus to come down from the tree and invited himself over. Jesus was purposeful when he met the Samaritan woman at the well and asked her for a drink. Jesus was deliberate when he ate supper at Levi’s house with all of Levi’s “sinful” friends.
As I have often shared, I love to play tennis. In the past couple of years, I have gotten back into playing tennis on a more regular and competitive basis. This conviction, that I have to intentionally find ways to develop friendships with irreligious people, drove my decision regarding what tennis team I would play with this past year—a group of guys that are from this community.
That is what happens when you get serious about letting the light of Christ shine through you. Loving your neighbor will mean you have to be purposeful in your relationships. It means you have to get into close proximity with those people right around you—many who are living rather far from God. It will involve intentionally getting to know their stories. As Paul reminded the Colossians: you will have to earn the right to be able to speak to your neighbors with gracious and salty speech.
My prayer is that you will take the risk and be a lamppost in your neighborhood . . . allow
Christ’s light shine through you!
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