“Why are you doing this?” It was a moment at their kitchen table that reminded me of Jesus at the last supper.
Pat and Theresa Forbes has been helping the church in Mankato focus on having a posture on outreach and evangelism. One of the things they have done during this past season in preparation was going through the book “The Art of Neighboring.” They felt God was leading them to do some neighborhood outreaches by simply gathering neighbors together to connect. They had a couple of gatherings in the past and with the changing of weather heading into the summer months they kicked off a neighborhood meal. It was due to be held outside in their yard but due to rain and cold, they moved it inside their home.
It was a wonderful warm atmosphere full of the welcome of God. Some of the neighbors who had lived in the neighborhood several years were remembering days gone by when people used to connect more. Due to the breakdown of the family, the transient nature of the past few decades, and the rise of the online world, society have lost much of the face to face relational connection that God has designed everyone to experience. As Paul said in Romans 8 “creation is groaning” for God manifesting His life through His people because it helps set others free from the bondage of deterioration. Relational connectedness is part of this.
When Pat was put on the spot to answer why he was doing this he had a great response that was not overly religious but had the Kingdom seed in it. “We were reading a book by as man who went to his city officials and wondered what the church could do to help their city. The official said the best thing that would help everyone would be for people to be good neighbors. We felt like it was something we could do to serve our neighborhood and city, to connect and care for our neighbors.” Any slight shred of suspicion melted away spawning great conversations and connectedness among all who were gathered.
Jesus did say the two most important things that “all the law and commandments rested on” was to “love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and the second was similar, to love your neighbor as yourself.” As we desire His kingdom to extend, looking for ways to love and connect with our neighbors has a God-seed in it that everyone can be involved in. We are “Blessed to be a blessing” and loving our neighbors is part of it.