Have you ever asked someone to be your neighbor?
It’s a strange idea because neighbors are just there, whether we like it or not. We rarely, if ever, offer someone that invitation — so we don’t think of it as a step of faith. And yet if the Bible is true, it’s a step of faith all of us are expected to take. So what’s going on?
Fred Rogers — America’s Favorite Neighbor
In the summer of 2018 a surprise film found an audience amid America’s usual big-budget blockbuster sequels and superheroes. The documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” traces the life of Fred Rogers.
Mister Rogers, as he came to be known, was a man of faith. He saw children’s television as a place where he could be himself and share a core message. His unique vision was about shaping children around the ideals of neighboring, asking the simple question in song — “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
The question was an invitation. Mister Rogers wanted to show children and parents a model for building bridges and good relationships with those near you. Rogers invited us into his neighborhood to show us what being a neighbor is all about.
But our communities are different now. Our world is one where so many people are fractured and lonely and isolated. There’s never been a better time to say to another person, “I will be your neighbor.”
Identify New Neighbors in Different Settings
We have so many people whose lives we touch every day. We can either treat them as neighbors or continue to think of them as strangers whom we see a lot.
I am learning to broaden my definition of the word “neighbor” beyond just the people I live beside. I’m trying to apply the same mindset I have with my literal neighbors to people I work, learn and play alongside. Now my neighbors come in multiple forms:
- I work in a co-working space and at the local coffee shop and at a university. I see the same faces there most days.
- I have taken part in cooking and Italian language class alongside other learners.
- I play basketball at the open gym. The same people turn up again and again.
- And yes, I live on a street with houses to my left and right, and neighbors live in those houses.
I can see the people in all these environments regularly, or I can get to know them. I can also think about them from a spiritual perspective and take steps of faith with them.
I use MissionHub to focus on a few of these neighbors and identify faith steps I will take with them. Without a tool like this, I doubt my good intentions would turn into consistent action.
A Step of Faith — Will I Be Your Neighbor?
When you step back and take a look, most of us are deep into our routines. They hold us in patterns that can isolate us and keep us from connecting with our neighbors. So it’s definitely a step of faith to say, “I will intentionally know and engage in the life of my neighbor. And I will let my neighbor know me and engage in my life.”
Picture your neighbor in your mind and ask him or her this question: “Will I be your neighbor?” Challenge yourself to take intentional steps of faith so you can say a month from now, “I have been a good neighbor.” Also challenge the Christians you know to the same thing.
This month in the MissionHub blog, we will explore this theme of being a good neighbor. We’ll share some thoughts, tips and encouragements with you. We’d also like to recommend the Art of Neighboring website as a tool to use alongside MissionHub.
If you’re not already using MissionHub, then see how it works or download the app now. We hope these posts on neighboring resonate with you. Who else do you know who’s looking for inspiration in loving the people they live, work, learn and play alongside?
Photo by James Garcia