Elizabeth George in "A Woman After God's Own Heart" says:
They [your neighbors] may not be as close to you emotionally as your family members are, but you live near them day-in, day-out. That means you probably see your neighbors more often than you see your own extended family. And, as a wise proverb reminds us, 'Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away' (Proverbs 27:10). In other words, when you have a need or an emergency, your neighbor is there to turn to for help--not your relatives!Jesus has something to say about neighbors. Quoting from the Old Testament Law of Moses, He said that as a woman after God's own heart, you are to 'love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind' and 'love your neighbor as yourself' (Matt. 22:37,39)So, as a wise woman who wants to reach out to your neighbors, you must first have a heart full of love for them. And I've always found that prayer is how such a heart and such a love is cultivated. That's how Jim and I approached our neighbors and neighborhood. We picked one day each week to pray specifically for our neighbors. We listed each family on a special prayer page, along with their children's names. Then, as we spent time in the yard or passed one another getting in and out of the car, we would take a minute (no matter how busy or rushed we were!) to greet our neighbors by name, to be friendly, and to find out something else about their lives... which was noted on their personal prayer pages. Amazingly, as we prayed regularly for our neighbors, they came to have a place in our hearts...and in our lives! Prayer entwined our lives with theirs. Prayer turned strangers into loved ones! (p.204)
Sarah has this to say about getting to know your neighbors:
So how well do you know your neighbors? What conscious efforts do you make to get to know them better? How can you get your children involved? Are there other children for them to play with? Do you welcome others into your home? When new neighbors come in, how do you welcome them?
This is an interesting subject to post about. Most of our neighbors are family. We live on a spread of approximately 60 acres. My mom and dad and my sister and her family and my family occupy the majority of it. We also have a couple and their daughter who live on my Mom and Dad's place. We only have 2 sets of neighbors in the near vicinity that are not related to us or go to church with us! The nickname for this place is "Ferguson Hill". My Family's name. Also, the "Fergurosa" like the "Ponderosa" on Bananaza. Actually, Dan Blocker is my 2nd cousin! Anyway, back to explaining. Reading this passage out of Elizabeth George's book, I realize how much I need to reach out to others and pray for them, too.
My closest neighbor that is not family has recently been divorced. His wife left him for another man and that was his second marriage. He drank a lot there for a while. I think that he is doing better now but I still need to pray for him and we need to find more ways as a family to reach out to him and his kids.
The other set of neighbors live down the road from us. They are very busy people. I don't think that they are hardly ever home. He works, she works, and the kids are hardly ever there. I only see them usually when they are leaving to go somewhere else. I don't think that I have ever said more than 10 words to all of them combined, since they've lived here although I did tutor one of their sons in Reading when he was in 2nd grade. A precious little boy. He says hi to me all of the time!
There are many things I could do to reach out to my neighbors. Since I love to bake but I don't need to eat so much of the results, lol, I could take food to all of them occasionally. I could stop and talk to them more and I could invite them to do things with my husband and myself. I could also invite them to more activities at church and give them cards and baked goods at least once a month. I am so new to this stuff. I led a very sheltered life at the Fergurosa! rotfl. ( My sisters, you will roll on the floor laughing at the Fergurosa and Ferguson Hill! So true, isn't it, so true!)
So, that's my ramblings for today! I am so grateful to Sarah for hosting this, makes me stop and think about how I am living out my faith and what I can do to reach out to others!