LIFE IN THE ‘HOOD (Part II)
Last week I told you about how I am working with a few of my neighbours to throw a block party for our cul-du-sac. I mentioned that nurturing good relationships with neighbours opens doors for the Gospel. This is true and is super important! This week, however, I would like to talk about the larger Kingdom vision out of which we serve our neighbours.
When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are asking God to bless people with all of the good things He intends for them. Remembering this larger vision causes us to see all of the needs of our neighbours and keeps us from looking at our them as mere targets for evangelism.
Consider just a few of the many benefits that come from developing relationships with our neighbours:
· It combats loneliness: Did you know that loneliness has been identified as a health risk that is as serious as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and lack of exercise? People who feel connected with their neighbours will likely live longer than their lonely counterparts.
· It is good citizenship: A few years ago MacLean’s magazine ran a lead article that documented the social disintegration taking place in Canada. The article’s author opined that our increasing insularity from one another is eroding our country’s social fabric. For any country to remain unified, it citizens need to have a level of understanding of, and toleration for, one another. That kind of social cohesion can be built as we talk to one another in our neighbourhoods.
It creates a safety net. The Bible says, “Better [is] a neighbor nearby than a relative far away” (Prov 27:10). Having good relationships with your neighbours, means that you can give each other rides to the hospital when you are in a jam, watch over one another’s homes when you are away, and even care for one another’s pets, if necessary. There are a lot of practical mutual benefits that come with “neighbouring”.
For all of these reasons I have begun to take time on Thursday mornings to pray the “BLESS” prayer for each household in my neighbourhood. The letters of “bless” suggest the multifaceted needs of my neighbours:
B. Body – Physical needs, health
L. Labor – work, income
E. Emotional – inner life, joy
S. Social – relationships, family
S. Spiritual – Faith in Jesus! Salvation!
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