“The most important one (command),” 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.” Mark 12:29-31 NIV
This week we are talking about our most important relationships, in our community and we start with neighbor.
I have had 56 different addresses in my life; so I’ve had a lot of neighbors. As a child they were some of my parent’s best friends barbecuing and hanging out together. Us kids played football, wiffle ball, king of the hill (suburban fight club); and grew up going to school, parties and doing life together. The word neighbor meant close friends and teammates in our daily lives.
Obviously moving a lot, it has taken intentional effort to meet, know and become friends with neighbors over the years. Many of them are among the richest relationships in my life to this day.
TJC has used the phrase “dear neighbor” several times as we dug into tough topics impacting our communities and nation. Our use of that phrase was intentional to frame that while we are concerned with national level issues, what matters most is what impacts our personal lives at home, at work; and the people we directly interface with. We know that most solutions to our nation’s problems are best resolved at the grass roots level starting with our neighbors. That absolutely includes embracing pro-life across the tapestry of our lives.
My all time favorite lesson is when a pastor asked us to write “it’s all about relationship’s stupid” in the front of our Bible - condensing that the book details how God wants us to have relationships with Him and how we are to have relationships with each other. Jesus' command is clear - that second relationship is your neighbor. Fruit/victory in our lives doesn’t happen with strangers, it happens where God has placed you so dig in.
Daily Battle Order:
Do you know your neighbors’ names? Have you had an actual conversation? Do they know you are a Christian? If so, is it because you have a decal on your car or do you actually reflect the character and conduct of Christ in relationships with them. If you can’t say yes to the above - go knock on one neighbor’s door tonight and introduce yourself. I thank my dad for modeling this - we never went anywhere where people didn’t come up and talk with him, seemed like everyone knew my dad.
P.S. - Coggins Farm neighbors - TR and Cathy, Matt and Georgia, Brian and Missy, Matt and Melissa, Scott and Jamie, Gabriella, Jimmy, Nathan, Seth, Robert and more … thanks for welcoming us to the neighborhood. Sorry about our dog muddying your pool. Thanks for keeping an eye out and really appreciate your kids watching our puppy. Thanks for the friendly poker games. Thanks for the tips on good restaurants. Thanks for the dialogues we have already shared on politics, sports rivalries (UGA did have BAMAs number- last year), TJC articles and how we want to be good neighbors.