Who Is My Neighbor?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as it has really made me think about things. When I think about neighbors I usually think locally; so to think globally stretches my understanding of neighbors.

It’s really amazing to me how things have changed over the years as it used to be you’d see youth hanging out playing, but that isn’t as frequent of a sight as it used to be. It used to be you’d know a lot of the people on your street; but that, I fear, is sadly becoming less and less. How many times does someone say hi, or even make eye contact, as they pass on the street, or in a store, etc.? Sadly, I think fear has taken a lot of the “local neighbor” out of the equation. What ways are possible to be a “local neighbor” now?

While being a “local neighbor” may have shrunk in many ways, the “global neighbor” has taken off. It is so much easier to communicate globally now, than it used to be; so that has opened up so many more ways to interact globally. When people from PoP go to Bomalang’ombe we get updates every day. That wouldn’t have happened too many years ago. We can now see what is happening instantly all over the world. Remember when getting a letter from overseas was about the only way to learn what was going on? Instant access to global news makes being a “Neighbor” easier, or does it? While we can get information instantly, it’s easier to stay in touch with people, and it also magnifies the problems going on around the world. Being a “PEN PAL” used to be a way to be a neighbor globally, but it was hard to know how to help those in need around the world. Now it’s an everyday occurrence to feel the need to help out globally, which can make choices difficult. How are we supposed to be good neighbors locally and globally?

Josh Wilson has a song called “Dream Small” in which the refrain says “Dream small. Don’t bother like you’ve got to do it all. Just let Jesus use you where you are, one day at a time. Live well, loving God and others as yourself. Find little ways where only you can help. With His great love, a tiny rock can make a giant fall. Dream small.” There is a bridge in this song that says “Keep loving, keep serving, keep list’ning, keep learning, keep praying, keep hoping, keep seeking, keep searching. Add up the small things and watch them grow bigger. The God who does all things makes oceans from rivers. So dream small.” This song reminds me of Mother Teresa’s quote “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Being a “neighbor” isn’t easy globally, or locally, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed, by the magnitude of it all, remember to start out small, doing things with love, for sometimes that is all we can do.

I believe that if we all do small things, they’ll add up to something much greater than we ever imagined. I challenge everyone to just start out sharing a smile with those they meet every day; for who knows what that smile may mean to that person. When you’re ready for bigger things there are many local groups to volunteer with that help people in need locally and globally. Maybe a mission trip is in your future, but whatever your call may be, share God’s love with those around you. If we aren’t God’s love to the world, who will be? My prayer is that we all at least do small things with great love.

Milt Warkentien
Music Ministry Coordinator and Lightshine
Youth Choir Director