Lights in Your Neighborhoods
By Heather Barnes
This past weekend at the retreat we had a workshop on how to be A Light in Your Neighborhood. To move past friendly neighbors who just wave to intentionally becoming invested and involved for the sake of sharing the good news of the gospel and spreading God's kingdom.
Let's first think about some nitty gritty-
To be a light in your neighborhood…God DOES NOT require
- A specific personality type
- A culinary skill level or hosting or hospitality gifting
- You to have young kids or dogs - what some may call a natural connecting point
- You to be a certain age…younger or older.
- You to always know what to say, or do maneuver conversations perfectly.
- Being a stay at home mom.
- You to have all the answers
To be a light in your neighborhood DOES require…
- To know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, walk with Him. Knowing the Gospel.
- Willing hearts and ready hands.
- Motivated by the love of Christ. (what would it look like for the love of Christ to control me?)
- Open invitations. Open homes.
- Not I, but Christ. We’ll make mistakes & learn as we go, thats expected.
- Sacrifice and inconvenience in our lives - for the good of our neighbors.
Isn't that list a relief? Isn't it such freedom to know that being a light for God DOES NOT come with a list of "pre-requisites"? That I don't need to be the best chef, perfect homemaker, organizer, or even a good "small talker"?!
However, when I look at the what DOES it require list- I can say YES to all of those! And whole heartedly!
So what does being a light in your neighborhood mean? What is radical, ordinary hospitality? It is using your Christian home in a regular way that seeks to make strangers neighbors, and neighbors family of God. REPEAT
Our call is to interact with people and use your Christian home in a regular way that seeks to make strangers neighbors, and neighbors family of God.
It is marked by open invitations, the disruption of regular routines…providing a window into the richness and fullness of life with Christ. It is through open homes, willing hearts, and ready hands that God brings his Kingdom to earth.
Start anywhere. Start today. As God welcomes us as his sons and daughters, calling us his friend, let us do the same with our neighbors, seeing each as worthy of hospitality because they bear the Imago dei. And therefore they are WORTH it! Those around us who are made in the image of God are worth more than our own feelings of awkwardness for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or 3 hours. They are more valuable than our own feelings of pride. Jesus did not come to offer a comfortable life for us. He came to offer eternal life... for ALL.