My entire life I have heard sermons and lessons on preparing for the time to come. Inside my heart is a driving force telling me that time has come and is now. Remember all of those Sunday School lessons about being kind to your neighbor? Do you have a neighbor? Be kind to them NOW. Do words from Kids' Crusades of long ago flit through your memory with fond remembrance? NOW is the time to put the messages shared by those dear children's ministers to life.
Maybe your neighbors aren't exactly like the ones in our childhood stories. Our adult friends probably haven't fallen and skinned their knee, but I am pretty sure they have hurts we can bandage with love and prayer. A kind word never goes out of style, and I am positive that grownups get left out of the in crowd just as often as children do in school. Loving our neighbor doesn't have to be difficult or complicated. A plate of cookies, some bottles of water, a friendly wave and smile don't require a special formula or plan.
Do you have a favorite hobby or talent? What would happen if you would use it as an open door to pour the love of God through? Sketches can be shared. Pictures can be given. Handcrafted items can be gifted. What if that is why God gave you that talent, so you could use it to extend Him to your neighbors? Maybe God's love to our neighbors looks like cold bottles of water handed out to someone working outside in the sun. Maybe it looks like a BBQ or potluck picnic with our neighbors being invited instead of our usual crowd. Maybe it looks like our usual crowd AND neighbors. Sometimes it might look more like a PB & J with a cold glass of milk eaten on the porch with a neighboring child chattering away like the proverbial magpie. What would a warm smile and a listening ear speak to a small child? What would it speak to their loved ones back at home?
Who says loving our neighbor has to be complicated or hard to do? It wasn't God. In fact, He says quite the opposite: "For the [true] love of God is this: that we do His [keep His ordinances and mindful of His precepts and teaching]. And these orders of His irksome (, oppressive, or grievous). 1 John 5:3 AMPC"
Don't bother arguing that you aren't talented or that you don't have anything to give. God says He has given you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1) and that He supplies all our needs (Philippians 4:19). These two verses are merely a few of the many telling of God's provision and abundance. Others make sure we know He provides seed to the sower. Whatever your neighbors need God has provided it. Do you have a smile? Using it is free. Do your hand and arm work? Move them in a friendly wave. Leaves can be raked. Lawns can be mowed and/or tidied. Weeds can be pulled. Trash can be collected.
Maybe being a light of God in our neighborhood is even easier. Maybe it is something as simple as placing a pot of cheery flowers on our own step or better yet, cleaning up our own yards and getting rid of our own trash. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for our neighbors is providing them with a clean, tidy home and yard to look at every day. If we have children, training them to be polite and kind to others shines out like a piercing beacon in the selfish darkness so prevalent today. Loving our family and laughing with each other outside of our home where neighbors can see and hear can flow over a community like a Love flood. How it warms the heart of others to see a family loving and enjoying each other.
Whatever love door God has provided for you, open it. Open it NOW. A little love light here, another little love light there, and pretty soon our entire community will be a light with the Love of God. It only takes a spark to get a fire going you know. The time has come. It is NOW. Let's love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. Let's obey God and do it NOW.
Loving one little love light at a time,