Love Your Neighbor Like John The Baptist
“There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” John 1:6-9
Are you living a blessed life?
Do you have a job?
10.1 million Americans do not. (Jan 2021; BLS.gov)
Do you spend time with friends and family that love you?
35 million Americans live alone and 3 of 5 Americans self report as being lonely (US Census, Cigna)
Do you know where your next meal will come from?
35 million Americans are food insecure. (2019; USDA)
Do you have a roof over your head?
553,742 Americans experience homelessness on any given night. (2017; HUD)
Since you are reading this post my guess is you can answer yes to at least three of the four questions above. Consider yourself blessed!
With these facts right in front of you I hope that it does not come as a surprise that many of your neighbors can not say the same.
How are you a witness to the light?
You have been blessed.
How can you live your life like John The Baptist and pave the way for Jesus? “‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Matthew 3:3
You will see endless opportunities to help your neighbors if you open your eyes and look around:
- When you go to church next Sunday take a real look at the folks in the pews with you. Are some of them struggling? Is there a single mother in the pews that you can help? Maybe she needs new tires for her car or a little money to buy clothes for her children.
- Is there an elderly widow on your street who is lonely? Knock on their door and spend time with her! You can play card games, help with chores around the house, or just sit in her living room and chat.
- Do you have a pantry full of food that you will probably never eat? The local food pantry or church will be grateful to have that food. Over the last year the food banks have not been able to keep up with the demand for food and are needing extra donations. They will accept cash too if you don’t have any extra food in your home.
Tell of all his wonderful acts!
“Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.” Psalm 105
You realize now that you are blessed, you’ve opened your eyes, and are finding opportunities to help you neighbors. Now what? Your neighbors are bound to ask why you are helping them.
Why are you spending time with me? Why did you notice me when no one else did?
God has blessed you with a great job, a family that loves you, a roof over your head, and plenty of food to eat.
Tell them it is because you love them.
That’s it! You love them because God first loved you. (1 John 4:19)
“There’s a story about the time period after Jesus’ Resurrection and his Ascension into heaven. In heaven, all the angels could still see the wound marks on Jesus’ hands and feet. They all bowed down before Him. Finally, St. Michael went up to Jesus and said, ‘Jesus, do they know how much You love them?’
‘A group of them know’, Jesus said.
‘Well,’ St. Michael replied, ‘how are you going to tell the rest of the world?’
‘I told Peter and I told James and I told John and I told the rest of the Twelve,’ Jesus said, ‘and they are going to have to tell the others.’” Be A Man!, by Father Larry Richards
We must make ourselves vulnerable.
Does reading this make you uncomfortable?
Is the thought of reaching out and connecting with a neighbor making you nervous?
Writing this made me realize I’m not doing enough to help those around me. Far too often I forget how great my life is and I often believe I’ve earned these comforts I enjoy. That I’m responsible for them, but this is completely false. Everything in my life is a gift from God.
It can be very uncomfortable and nerve-racking to leave a life of comfort to help a stranger. But let me close with this except from the excellent book Taking Men Alive, by Jim Wilson, which I suggest you read!
“You may fear being taken advantage of. That is normal. Nobody wants to get walked on. Nobody wants to be stomped, even very strong people. In general, everyone would rather do the walking than the getting walked on. No one is naturally willing to be a slave to someone else because that means the other person is in control and can do what he wants, and it might not be nice. Yet who really wins when we make ourselves vulnerable to the lost? We do, and they get won to Christ.”
About the author
James Quandahl is an author, coach, international speaker on the topics of business, leadership, and self-discipline and a small business owner. Start a conversation with him on Twitter or subscribe to his blog where he publishes business leadership articles on Mondays and articles for leadership at home every Friday.