The teen boy in the neighborhood attempted to push the SUV forward by himself. Too much weight. I immediately pulled over and lent my shoulder to the effort. A second teen jumped out of the vehicle, which meant the three of us were now a team with one goal: move the car two hundred yards forward to the nearby gasoline station.
No problem. Some sweat in the frigid air. A few breaks from our exertions. Bam. Job done. They shook my hand and began to offer money, I smiled, telling them they did not need to pay me. I am always happy to help.
It’s what I learned from my father as I saw him help others on many occasions over the years. Later in life a friend named Danny inspired me in the same way. How can I not follow their examples in giving when it is within my power to do so? Anyone can articulate the importance of helping neighbors and being on mission to share Christ’s love with them. Yet, without tangible action, the words are just a theory of what we might do or a memory of what once had been done.
Neighboring is not about living and working in proximity while minimizing prospective interactions, thereby keeping the peace…. No. It’s about intentionally reaching out to neighbors in kindness within the common routines of daily living. It’s simultaneously an invitation to community and a respect for personal privacy.
It consists of shining the hope of the gospel in dark places from an embedded platform of prophetic humility: relational togetherness, rather than some vague notion of spiritual otherness as seen on tv or heard on the radio. Knowing and being known while remaining faithful to the gospel in belief and action.
It’s what we do, you and I, as we serve God in the way of Jesus.