Milk and Honey Magazine advice on living neighborly and Christlike

Living Neighborly

Paige Weslaski

After two years of living in the same condo complex, I didn't know my neighbors. So, when the church sermon of the week was titled 'Loving Your Neighbor,' I rolled my eyes. "I live in a condo! It's so much harder to meet people than in a real neighborhood!" At least... that's what I thought.

I bit the bullet and decided to see what God could do. "Hey, God, if you have someone you want me to meet, please open that door." Let's just say I didn't expect much.

Boy - was I shocked. Two weeks later, after a single prayer, I have met over 15 different neighbors by name (this includes Facebook adding, sitting in their garden, hearing their war stories, eating their cookies), simply by walking around introducing myself! You wouldn't believe how excited people were to open their lives with someone who simply lived near them.

What does a perfect neighbor look like to you? The ten main adjectives when it comes to neighbors are as follows: pray, learn, give, serve, call, help, eat, play, write, and host.

Our BFF Jesus gave us only two commandments, "love God completely" and "love your neighbor as yourself." The problem with our society (and my recent former problem) is although we're more connected with faraway friends via social media and technology, we're more isolated than ever before in the physical. We don't know who lives next to us or behind us; we may see them pull in and out of their garage every so often, but we don't know-know them.

If Jesus were living today, and if He lived in the exact spot we did, would He go out of His way to serve those living a stone throw away? We're called to be as Christ-like as we can, and by serving our literal neighbors, we offer a glimpse of Christ's love and servanthood.

You've likely heard the jingle "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!" Imagine if instead, it was "Like a good neighbor, God's people are there!" We've found 52 ways to be neighborly - to "be there" - one for each week of the year! Using these tactics, let's make our Milk & Honey community as loving as possible this year.

♫ ♬♫ ♬"Like a good neighbor, God's people are there!"

☂ Spring

  • Clean your neighborhood and parks
  • Spend time in your front yard
  • Prayer-walk in your neighborhood
  • Host a neighborhood garage sale
  • Neighborhood easter egg hunt
  • Mow a neighbor’s lawn
  • Help your HOA or apartment manager
  • Pick up litter
  • Start a neighborhood watch
  • Organize a playgroup for children
  • Welcome new neighbors
  • Pray over homes for sale
  • Learn your neighbors’ names
  • Lemonade stand, bake sale, craft sale

☼ Summer

  • Build trust with neighbors
  • Throw a block party
  • Spend time in the front yard
  • Share garden produce
  • Invite neighbors into your home
  • Connect with simple conversations
  • Appreciate your mail carrier
  • Invite neighbors for ice cream
  • Plant flowers in your yard
  • Support fostering or adoptive parents
  • Movie and popcorn night
  • Pray for your neighbors
  • Wash your neighbor’s car

☁ Fall

  • Host a fire pit of friendship - offer smore's
  • Rake a neighbor’s leaves
  • Look for needs in your neighborhood
  • Focus your gaze and build a bridge
  • Compliment your neighbor’s project
  • Start or join a facebook group
  • Carpool with your neighbors 
  • Drive safely in your neighborhood
  • Cheer on your neighbors
  • Give out halloween candy
  • Invite neighbors to a sports event
  • Write thank-you notes
  • Help an elderly or disabled neighbor

❄ Winter

  • Shovel snow for a neighbor
  • Go christmas caroling
  • Deliver a small gift to a neighbor
  • Show your appreciation to a teacher
  • Take out a neighbor’s trash
  • Visit a nursing home
  • Check on elderly neighbors in bad weather
  • Serve veterans in your area
  • Serve on a community board
  • Donate to a food pantry
  • Take treats to fire and police departments
  • Become friends with a senior
  • Offer to watch a child
*WI Northen MI Ministries Network