“When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You must not strip your vineyard bare or gather its fallen grapes. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God.”
God calls us to a kind of generosity that puts the needs of others before our own, not one that is determined by what leftovers we have. His calling is for us to consider the needs of others as we go about our reaping, not passing along our meager remains after gorging ourselves. It seems that this practice has been lost in today’s society. People who experience God’s compassion and love each and every day should want to show this same love and compassion to others, right? So, what is the problem? The issue seems to be a matter of the heart and our desires. Our selfishness can get in the way of reaching out to those in need because we are too inwardly focused. There needs to be a shift where people begin to look outside of themselves and notice their neighbors and what they can do to serve them.
So, what does it look like to actually be a good neighbor? In the Old Testament it was holding back in harvesting some of your crops for those in need. But how do we act like a neighbor in today’s world? Maybe our “crops” look more like our time or our emotional energy. How can we better plan our days so that we don’t use up all of our time or energy on ourselves? How can we intentionally make room in our days to devote towards being a neighbor?
Apartment Life has given us the platform to purposefully use our time to make connections and serve our neighbors. We have 3 community events a month that we plan. That means at least 3 times a month that we have on the calendar for intentional community with our neighbors. That is such a blessing for us! But of course, this blessing can quickly become a foothold for Satan if we neglect to remember the who and the why behind our mission. As Jesus says in Matthew 5,
“let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
We must allow ourselves to be interrupted; to not be so laser focused on marking off our to-do list that we miss opportunities to shine our light and glorify our Father in heaven.
Take steps this week to create space to be interrupted and give generously of your time. Be prayerful ahead of time that God would be preparing you for the ways he will work through you. Go knock on a door to introduce yourself. Offer to drive someone to the airport. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Strike up a conversation in the elevator. Carry your neighbor’s trash to the curb.
And as you embark on this journey of neighboring, we are prayerful that God will be glorified through the good deeds of his people. We would also ask that you be prayerful for the Centric Gateway community where we serve as Apartment Life coordinators. Our hope is to be a light to this community and continue to make intentional and spirit-filled connections.
Shelbi & Karli