The muggy air was so thick the weatherman described it as “air you wear.” I absolutely didn’t feel like going outside, especially since my task that day was to tackle the overgrown weeds in the garden. But my schedule didn’t allow for another day, so out I went.
And I’m so glad I did. I learned so many valuable lessons that day that I started taking notes so as not to forget. While I was outside up to my elbows in dirt, neighbors passed by, either by car or walking. I looked a mess and felt a little self-conscious, but the lessons learned were well worth it.
The first neighbor stopped her car to ask if my husband had a guitar he could lend for a memorial service for our dear friend. The son-in-law was traveling from across the country and if he could borrow a guitar locally, he wouldn’t have to carry one. There is no one better to ask for a guitar than my husband (worship leader and rock star), and we were so glad to be of service.
Another neighbor needed a ride to help her brother who was suddenly and severely injured, and because she had seen me and knew I was around, she felt free to call and ask for help.
Then a third neighbor, a young college student, stopped by, and I was able to ask him if he was interested in earning some money this summer helping me with the yard work that I’m not able to do (thanks to my three knee surgeries). Turns out he’s very interested – a win-win for both of us.
These aren’t huge events whatsoever, but they are service opportunities that wouldn’t have happened if I stayed in my house like I wanted.
In the NY/NJ area, this weekend culminates a nine month outreach called CityServe, a Gospel-driven movement that identifies, develops, and nurtures church-connected, neighborhood-focused collaborations throughout the boroughs of NYC in the areas of justice, mercy, and education.
This weekend for CityFest, there are tens of thousands of Christians gathering in Times Square and Central Park worshipping God. But for the past nine months, Christians have been urged to get out of their churches and into their communities. I have been privileged to serve on the Justice track of NJ CityServe, raising awareness about human trafficking and creating opportunities for churches to engage in justice work in their communities.
The intention is to share the gospel by serving our neighbors, to get out of our church buildings to engage in the culture and the community around us–to share the gospel by doing before speaking.
We can all do this wherever we are. Rather than expect unbelievers to come to us, we need to go to them, to connect with them, to meet their needs.
When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mk 12:30-31
What can you do to get out of your house or church and enter into the community around you, seeking to serve and save those that are lost?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35