During the 2020 harvest season, Lane Unhjem a farmer from North Dakota was hospitalized after he suffered a heart attack when his combine harvester caught fire. When his neighbours heard, dozens gathered at Unhjem’s farm with equipment in tow to help and were able to harvest over 1,000 acres of crops in seven hours. Don Anderson one of his neighbours said “the Unhjems have a beautiful crop that will be safe in the bins today, and more importantly they have the comfort of knowing that they have a community of friends that are helping, praying and doing whatever they can to help them get through this tough time.”
In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus commands: “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus also says: “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Until recent years it was the common throughout Ireland to pop in with your neighbour, have a chat (always over a wee cup of tea) and be there to help in a time of need. However, today we have been living increasingly isolated lives and sometimes don’t even see the needs of our neighbours around us. Yet there is attractiveness when community rallies around to help someone in need with no strings attached and expecting nothing in return. In today’s busy world, be available and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to help and encourage those in need around you. Deliver the meal, bake the cake, get to know your neighbour and their family, have a conversation, smile and wave when you pass them on the street. Step in and help those who you may not theologically agree with, those you may have different political view points from and those who live a different lifestyle from you. Be ready to help those in your community and neighbourhood at a time when they need you and let them see the love of Christ in you.
As you practically show love to your neighbours pray for them, and don’t forget to pray for your neighbours who may cause you discomfort or some irritation. Perhaps as you pray for those who you may not always agree with your heart in turn may soften towards them.
Father, help me not to live an isolated life from my neighbours. Father, I pray for my neighbours, that they would be blessed and that they would encounter You. Help me see the needs in my local community and I pray that Your Holy Spirit would lead me in ways that I can show Your love. Give me the courage and strength I need to interact with those who may have different opinions from me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.