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From 1968 to 2001 a friendly voice entered many of our homes, welcoming us to his neighborhood. Mr. Rogers neighborhood was the place to be. Who wouldn’t want to live in Mr. Rogers neighborhood? Mr. Rogers with his sweater and sneakers welcomed every child that watched into his neighborhood. In a world where some of us have a neighbor who’s dog barks all night, who blows grass all over your car, who has loud parties or music playing late into the night, or the countless other ways people come up with to disturb us…Mr. Rogers presented the ideal neighbor. He had a calming voice, was friendly, welcoming, and kind to all he encountered. Unfortunately, Mr. Rogers is not our neighbor and he won’t be moving in anytime soon. For that very reason, some of us live a life of isolation, away from our neighbors. We arrive home, push the button to automatically open our garage doors, pull in, and disappear into our homes. What if God placed us in our neighborhood, in our communities for more than just to live there? What if He has always wanted you to be the neighborhood Mr. Rogers…a calming voice, friendly, welcoming, and kind?

When you begin to think about the cities, towns, suburban areas we live in now, they’re obviously very different from those that people lived in when the Bible was written. While different, they still had neighbors and God speaks to the who our neighbor is and how we should treat our neighbor.

Who is my neighbor?

The answer to that question lies in Luke 10, the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s a common story but it’s the response that catches us off guard when Jesus responds to this question. Ultimately after the man was beaten and left for dead, a priest and Levite both passed the man on the road and didn’t stop to help. It was the Samaritan who stopped to help the man. Jesus response to who acted as a neighbor…the one who stopped and showed mercy. There are a few things you can easily pull out to help us think about ourselves as good neighbors. First, we have to care for those we see who have needs. As you drive through your neighborhood, do you drive by a home of someone where you know their story and you know they need a friend? Do you drive by a home that is in disrepair or they just need a helping hand? That’s the concept of the Good Samaritan, they saw a need, stopped and helped. Second, you should care for those you don’t know and sometimes are very different from you. The Samaritan was about the last person you’d expect to stop and help in that culture. This is especially the case considering the Samaritan didn’t even know the man. Think about the countless people living in your neighborhood who live a very different life, some of which you haven’t met or ever interacted with. How can you care for those who are different and those you don’t even know yet? Lastly, we have to stop, inconvenience ourselves for the benefit of others. The Samaritan likely had somewhere to be…not only did he stop to help, but he got the guy to help and lodging with an innkeeper. He even went as far as to pay for his lodging and care. We’re all busy people, it’s one of the biggest excuses all of us use flippantly to get out of about anything we don’t want to do. When is the last time you stopped and inconvenienced yourself to help someone in your neighborhood?

How important are my neighbors?

You’re familiar with the Great Commandment…Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind…and love your neighbor as yourself. It’s that whole “Love God and Love People” we talk about quite often. So, when faced with the question of how important are our neighbors…outside of loving God, that’s the next most important thing. Actually in Galatians 5:14 it says the whole law is fulfilled in the command to love your neighbor as yourself. So the question for us is, if God has placed us in a neighborhood, surrounded by people with needs and we’re supposed to love our neighbor, second only to God…how do we love our neighbors? While the physical needs are more obvious as you see a bush that needs to be trimmed, tree limbs that fell in a storm, paint that needs to be touched up…it’s the spiritual needs of the countless people that live near you that are most important.

How are you going to love your neighbor? How are you going to be the Good Samaritan…the Mr. Rogers of your neighborhood who is the calming voice, friendly, welcoming, and kind person. As you begin to look for ways to be a good neighbor, consider joining us at 6:30 PM on May 16th at the Neighborhood Bible Study Interest Meeting. No commitment necessary, but come find out how you could begin to connect with your neighbors and to begin to meet their spiritual needs.

I’ll leave you with this familiar song, as you begin to consider who your neighbor is and what you might do for them:

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,

A beautiful day for a neighbor.

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?

 

It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood,

A neighborly day for a beauty,

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?

 

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you!

I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So let's make the most of this beautiful day,

Since we're together we might as well say,

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?

Won't you be my neighbor?

Won't you please,

Won't you please?

Please won't you be my neighbor?

© 1967, Fred M. Rogers

Posted by Jeremy Shirley with
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WOW.......15 years ago today the HOPE outreach program of First Baptist Wentzville opened their doors to serve food to our hungry neighbors. In the first month, May 2004, we gave 100 bags of food to 30 families, and all with 185 volunteer hours to "set up shop" from the team.

Today, fifteen years later, we are serving over 5,000 people annually, 500 families per month. We have seen many trends through the seasons; the difficult year of 2011, with being top 10 in the Nation in unemployment, we were serving double the amount of families compared to now with the many jobs in our "General Motors" community.

We have seen many broken families over the years that received many prayers and hugs of encouragement; we have also seen many with injuries and disabilities, cancer and medical issues. Many folks with confessed substance abuse that overcame. Including the man that received the "lecture" from me when he was drinking alcohol in the church parking lot while waiting for his Thanksgiving meal.... (The following week he apologized to me. Since then, we have had a great friendship and I am happy to share he is "alcohol free” years later.)

So many wonderful relationships built within the HOPE community, as well as, in the HOPE family. I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be a part of this outreach, even though you all have taken away my many jobs of cleaning, data entry, lifting heavy boxes, late hours of work, giving Saturdays, and begging people for money...LOL

I love this community, our Church, our administration team, and all of YOU ... thank you for the great years of service!

Kathy :)

Posted by Kathy Thompson with

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