Do you know your neighbors? Every day we run across people who are working at gas stations, flipping burgers, working at nail salons, and wiping down tables. Imagine if we all took a second out of our day to learn their names, ask how we can pray for them, and intentionally make it a point to come back and see them again. Now, you might be thinking, That’s kind of weird and overbearing. But it’s actually reflecting a vibrant image of Jesus Christ. So, yes— it is weird, if by weird you mean different.
As Christ-followers, we are called to be different from the rest of the world and to love people without limits. That’s surely something this world isn’t used to. In the same way we show love to our friends, family, and coworkers, we need to be extending that same love and compassion to the people we come across casually in our everyday lives. At one point in time, every friend was a stranger. Love changed that. This type of love will only work if it is intentional, selfless, and nontransactional. In order for us to begin a lifestyle of love, we must be intentional about giving it.
“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”—Mark 12:31
It will blow you away to see how the most unlikely of people can become the closest of friends, all through the act of intentional love. What’s the difference between being the church and simply inviting people to one? It’s showing relentless love. This will let us see every place, from the gas station to the grocery store, with an entirely new set of eyes. Before we love, though, we must get to know people. Knowing your neighbor is slowly becoming a faded concept, perhaps because while many people in this world truly yearn for the love and affection friendship brings, many of us are putting our own agendas before the needs of others.
We are pulling through the drive-through in a hurry to get to work, rather than sharing a kind word. We are brushing by people on our way to somewhere else “urgent,” and maybe even getting too attached to our “me time.” When we put others before ourselves, we are directly telling them that we love and value their lives. This might mean taking time out of your busy schedule to stop and let someone know how much you appreciate his or her hard work, or even paying for the coffee of the person behind you.
For some people, this might be exactly what they needed to keep from giving up, quitting the job they feel unappreciated at, or even endangering their own lives. So next time you have to make a decision between keeping things running smoothly with your day or showing love, try showing and see what a difference it makes.
Real Christians know their neighbors. Real Christians go out of their way to meet people in need, shake their hands and turn strangers into friends.
This was an excerpt from Jarrid Wilson’s book, Jesus Swagger—Break Free From Poser Christianity.