Neighborly Love By Karen Spruill

Photo: Dreamstime
Years ago, I had a surplus of garden lemons and I took them door-to-door on my street along with a brochure about a service with which I was affiliated. I discovered a wonderful Christian across the street from my home and we turned into prayer partners. We have shared many heart concerns during the past six or seven years — praying for family, jobs, neighbors. Each of us is blessed to be one of the few people from outside of the other’s Christian culture. 

Today my dear neighbor treated me to a lunch and we updated each other on our lives. Next year we will not be able to share our birthday week. We are preparing our hearts for her to move as part of their ministry. She has already extended the invitation to visit them on the other side of the world. We talked about using Skype in the future to stay in touch. First I need to learn how to use that technology. I may never see her again this side of Heaven.

Earlier in the past several weeks, two houses within a stone’s throw of mine, have posted For Sale signs. I have been on speaking terms with both of the women in those houses even though we don’t see each other often. At one house, I invited their child to dog sit for us and they helped when we needed someone to assist in moving some furniture. I’ve seen their boy turn into a young man. Last winter three neighbor couples met to play board games together and so I know the young couple on one side of my house. That wife delivered some delicious cookies this past Christmas.

Somehow knowing women in my neighborhood has helped me to feel at home — yet friendship takes time. It will feel lonelier and colder when three more of them are gone. The temptation might be to just hole-up in my house and feel sorry for myself. I’m getter older and I’m busy. Why should I keep reaching out?

Then I remember that in several of my 11 moves in the past 38 years, neighbor women welcomed me and offered friendship or mutual help. We shared a yard sale, babysitting, a car to borrow, etc. I have attempted to “pay it forward,” to bless other women. Moving can be so exhausting and lonely.

So I need a new plan for this summer when my neighborhood will change again. I suppose it’s not to late to welcome someone — even if they’ve been here for awhile. A hidden “gem” of a potential friend may move in, or may already be on my street. I am called to be an ambassador in my neighborhood and there is no time limit on that ministry. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (I Cor. 5:20, NIV)

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

1. What is your concept of being a neighbor/ambassador? Do you know the names of those who live next door?

2. Is there a service or surplus that you can offer to your neighbors during these difficult economic times?

Karen Spruill writes from Orlando, Florida. All rights reserved © 2011 Click here for content usage information.

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