When you look at the life of Jesus, it is crystal clear that nothing mattered more to Him than people, and specifically, people far from the heart of their heavenly Father.
This is why everywhere that you look in His life, Jesus is either surrounded by people, caring for people, or teaching us about God’s heart for people. In fact, Jesus cares so much about people that He often took conversations that had nothing to do with people and made them entirely about people!
What does that mean for the church in 2017? Here are three simple practices that can help us as we model our lives after Jesus’ life.
1. Draw Near To Your Neighbor
In the book, The Art of Neighboring, Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon say, "If we say, “Everyone is my neighbor,” it can become an excuse for avoiding the implications of following the Great Commandment.”
Loving your neighbor as yourself requires taking the time to be near them. Have conversations in the driveway, grab lunch with them during the week, or invite them over on a free evening. Take it one person at a time, but intentionally draw near to someone in your life.
2. Care For Your Neighbor
The most critical step toward loving your neighbor is allowing yourself to actually love them. As you begin to hear about their story, let your heart open up to the relationship.
One of things that keeps us from being great neighbors is that we know it will cost us our convenience and comfort. We have to be mentally and emotionally engaged, especially when life gets hard.
Jesus never said that following him is safe and easy. However, He did say that when we enter into the joy, pain, fears, and dreams of others, He can do the unimaginable through our lives.
3. Share With Your Neighbor
You don’t become an extraordinary neighbor because you have more time, money, energy, or compassion to give to others. You become an extraordinary neighbor by being willing to give what you have!
We introduce the hope that Jesus gives when we are generous not with just our finances, but also with ourselves. People see your heart, your humility, and ultimately, your God.
Jesus gives us an invitation to get out of our seats and into the streets. To allow God to work through our passion and energy and resources for His glory…and in doing so, to bring heaven into the ordinary spaces of our lives!