I visited a Church last summer that had a message on being a friendly Christian neighbor. The sermon started with filling out a chart. There were six boxes on the chart, one of which was labeled your house. There were three boxes across from your home box and one on each side of the home box. The empty boxes represented the neighbor's houses that were in the closest proximity to your own home. The pastor asked the congregation to take out a pen and write the names of their neighbors in the other five boxes. After a while, the pastor asked everyone to raise their hand that filled out all five of the boxes on their chart. Out of a congregation of seven hundred people only a few people raised their hands. Even the pastor admitted that he was guilty of not knowing his neighbors as well.
The main point of the sermon was to show yourself if you were being a friendly Christian neighbor. Instead of hiding in your home, do you venture out to get to know those who live next to you? We live in a society that is consumed with work and our own selfish interests. Too many people hop in their car in the morning, open the garage door and head out for the day. When they return, they open their garage door, drive in and close it behind themselves. The only time they venture outside is when they have to mow their lawn. Even in that situation, it may be pawned off on the children of the home or hired out by a local contractor. The days of spending the evening on your front porch talking to your neighbors is gone. Even the front porch has disappeared from many new homes.
Why is it important to be a friendly Christian neighbor?
One of the easiest places to witness to others and show Gods greatness is in our neighborhood. Often times too many people are afraid to approach their neighbors. Honestly, some people just don't want to bother with getting to know their neighbor. Either way, being a friendly Christian neighbor something that we should all strive for.
As I filled out my boxes on the chart, I came to my final box. The last box to fill in was the pastors name. I found it ironic that the pastor was giving a sermon on being a friendly Christian neighbor but he never stopped by to introduce himself to me. After the sermon, I walked up and introduced myself to the pastor and told him that I was his neighbor. As he struggled with a deer in the headlights look, he extended his hand and introduced himself. I let him know that he could fill in the box on his chart now.
James 2:8 NASB If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.