Life is filled with ups and downs. A loved one passes away while another gives birth. The young college grad launches a new career; while another worker with 20+ years experience is laid off. Ebb and flow.
This weekend is one of those bitter/sweet moments of life. On the “bitter” side, our neighbors and good friends have sold their house and are moving to their retirement home in the North Carolina mountains. My wife and I are going to miss Jack and Celeste greatly. Sad to see them go but we are glad that they are starting a new chapter in their book of life.
On the “sweet” side; the couple who bought our neighbor’s house is my brother and his wife! This is definitely a God “thing! They are retiring from the ministry and are moving to South Carolina. It will be great to have them next door!
This is one of life’s surprises that we never could imagine.
The world often judges us by your friends but not everyone who says they are a friend is a friend. Samson/Delilah. Jesus /Disciples. The truth is we have many acquaintances but few friends. (This especially true among men.)
Most everyone wants friends but don’t expect to have friends if you are not friendly. If you have a good friend – you are blessed.You will always a friend in Jesus.
What does it take to be God’s friend? James 2:23 God does not need a friend but am I getting close to being God’s friend?
1. Abraham had his priority straight. Abraham chooses God over a property. Lot – Genesis 13. Seek first the Kingdom of God – Matthew 6:33
2. God and Abraham did not always agree. Good friends will listen to other. Sodom and Gomorrah. God listened and agreed not to destroy the city.
“John Wayne.” Just the mention of his name brings a mental image of a man’s man. He is the epitome of the rugged individual; courageous, strong, and never asking for help from anyone, no matter the odds. The concept of the ‘stand alone’ rugged individual is highly regarded in today’s culture.
To ask for help is often seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of self-confidence. I do not remember the “Duke” (or Dirty Harry) ever asking for help from anyone! That makes for a great movie but in reality, we DO need each other.
The Bible refers to Christ-followers as the Body. The Body (both physically and spiritually) is made up of many members which are dependent on each other. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Sharing the load or asking someone for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of good judgment.
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (ECCLESIASTES 4:10)
Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. [Psalm 142:4]
Personally, I think this maybe one of saddest verses in Scripture. I guess to some degree we have all felt like that at some point in our lives. But let’s look at this verse from a different perspective. How much do WE care about others? If you are a Christ-follower, you know of someone that does not possess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This means that they have not experienced eternal life. The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life. 1 John 5:12
The church in America has lost its passion for the “lost.” I am not trying to put you on a guilt trip but rather to help us regain a compassion for people without Christ. Throughout the Gospels, we read the Jesus had compassion for people and we are to have the same attitude as Christ. “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:” 2 Phil.2:4-5
The Apostle Paul had this kind of burden for the nation of Israel. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race.” [Romans 9:2-3]
My prayer for the church is that God would rekindle our love and compassion for the lost.
There is no question that times have changed. I am not sure when this change happened but their was a time when people knew their neighbors. They not only knew their names but were actually friends! Their relationship went further than a casual wave as they went to work. No longer are houses built with a front porch, why? No one wants people coming by and sitting on their porch, drinking iced tea and just socializing. People go to work early and get home late. Who has time (or energy) to build relationships with neighbors? Who is your neighbor?
I came across a news article that testify to this fact. The remains of a woman were found sitting in front of her TV – 42 years after she was reported missing. Hedviga Golik, who was born in 1924, had apparently made herself a cup of tea before sitting in her favorite armchair in front of her black and white television set. Police said that she was last seen by neighbors in 1966, when she would have been 42 years old. No one checked on her. No one phoned. No family member has claimed the body.
Which brings up the question: Who is your neighbor? Why not make a conscious effort to build a bridge of relationship with that “stranger” [neighbor] next door?