Earlier this week I went on an afternoon run following a shorter day at the office. The run was nothing special. I ran hard but it was only 4 or 5 miles. When I got home I tried several times to open the garage door. Nothing. The front door was locked, all the windows were closed and locked. I was completely locked out.
Rose wasn’t going to be home for another 2 hours. I could feasibly just wait it out but I knew I could potentially get sick if I did that. It was close to sundown and I knew it was going to get cold fast. I knew what I needed to fix the door but I had no money to buy anything.
So I walked over to my neighbors. One of my neighbors was obviously home but did not answer the door. The other neighbor wasn’t home. I didn’t know anyone well enough within walking distance to hang out at their house unannounced. I was out of luck. I started to embrace the idea of sitting on my porch in the cold for a few hours all because I didn’t know the people who live around me.
I don’t know the names of my neighbors, I don’t know their phone numbers, I don’t know when or where they work. I don’t know them, at all.
Eventually a friend who lives a few miles away rescued me with the battery I needed to fix my garage door opener. So the story wasn’t all bad.
But this reality that I don’t know more than 1 or 2 people who live directly outside my front door has sat with me for several days. It’s a reality I hate. Not that I want to use my neighbors whenever I get in a jam, but that I have no ability to bring God’s love to their lives.
Part of me wants to flip the bird at the neighbors who ignored me by not answering the door when they were home, but most of me realizes they ignored me because I never took the first step to know them.
I need to do a better job of making an effort to know and care about the people who live right next to me.
Bringing the Gospel to our world is about much more than just caring about the people outside our front door, but it absolutely starts there.