And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. [Luke 1:58 ESV]
I have a neighbor that doesn’t want to talk to anybody, sometimes. Even me. Especially me, maybe. He’s a retired guy that doesn’t hear so well and leaves his hearing aid in the house when he just wants to do work around the yard and not talk to anybody. When I’m in this kind of mood, I put earphones in. He keeps his out.
He’s a better neighbor than me. He sweeps the parking area next to our adjoining townhouses daily. We have an oak tree that shakes leaves loose part of the year and dumps acorns on us the other part. Our cars and parking lot are covered every day with that oak tree’s leavings, but he sweeps it all up making our asphalt look tip-top.
I never sweep. The stuff I have to do is much more important. I go off and run. I go to work. I drive to the store. I want to introduce my neighbor to Jesus but I’m a little busy. It could be difficult because he’s a better neighbor than me. And he doesn’t wear his hearing aid.
The other day I grabbed a broom and helped him sweep. He didn’t have a hearing aid in so we couldn’t talk. We just swept together. I helped him make our parking area look tip-top.
A little later that day, I took him a Bible. I wanted to give him a Christmas present from our family. I wanted to tell him how the Book changed my my life and made me a better man; father; husband. I’m still working on being a better neighbor. He doesn’t get visits very often so all he wanted to do is show me pictures of his life before he retired. He showed me photos of his cars and a house he built and people at a factory in Michigan where he worked for thirty years. We didn’t get to talk about the Bible much. He doesn’t get visitors very often and he needed to tell me about his life before I went home and didn’t visit again.
When I’m a better neighbor, I’ll visit him more often and earn the right to have a conversation that goes two ways. I want to show him the kindness he’s shown me and I want to tell him about a merciful savior.
I see a theme emerging for 2012.
What if we were the ones who show mercy to our neighbors so that God rejoices over us?