Encouragement for Today
“Just Say No to Neighbors”
Sharon Jaynes, Vice President of Radio, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (NIV)
I hate to admit it, but there have been times when I have pulled in my welcome mat from the front porch. Once, a neighbor became furious with me for correcting her child. She called and told me what a terrible person I was. Who did I think I was for correcting her little angel? I won’t go into all the gory details, but let’s just say she was less than flattering. I did apologize but decided on a new no-nonsense policy for dealing with my neighbors.
“Lord, I have a plan,” I said. “Here’s the deal. I am not going to make friends with any of my neighbors. I am going to keep to myself, stay in my own yard, and play with my own toys. I am going to remove the welcome mat at the front door and make sure the alarm-system warning sticker is displayed in a prominent place. No borrowing a cup of sugar. No talking over the fence. No anything! I am even going to import Steven’s playmates. This ‘Just Say No to Neighbors’ policy is in effect immediately.”
The next day, I dropped my son off at a YMCA basketball camp. At pick-up time, we moms were standing around talking while waiting for our sons. There was a pretty blonde there, and I heard someone ask where she lived. “I’ve just moved from the
That was my street! She knew I had heard her, and she knew I lived on that street. I politely returned her smile and felt panic creep in. What was I supposed to do? My new policy had been in effect for less than 48 hours.
I told God that I would introduce myself, but I reminded Him of my “Just Say No to Neighbors” policy. After all, I did not want to be rude, just distant…okay, safe. I introduced myself to Debi, welcomed her to the neighborhood, and chatted for a few minutes. Then I grabbed my son by the shirt and scurried away.
That afternoon there was a knock at the door. When I looked out the window, guess who was standing on my porch? None other than my new cheerful neighbor, Debi…just dropping by to say hello. As I opened the door, I again reminded the Lord of my plan, just in case He had forgotten. My guard stayed up for about five minutes after she strolled into my house.
Debi walked into the sunroom and exclaimed, “Oh look, we have the same china pattern. And I see you like to collect things with bunnies on them. I just love bunnies, don’t you? I have them all over my house. Oh, look, we even have some of the same bunnies!”
We discovered that we both enjoyed decorative flags and had one for each month of the year. Then with a luminous smile, Debi said, “You know, when we moved in and I saw the cute flag with the firecrackers hanging by your porch, I just knew we would be friends.” And we have been ever since that day. We go to flea markets together and reach for the same items. We paint together, look for bargains together, and go on garden tours together. And although I had been quite capable before, I could no longer make any home decorating decision without first getting her opinion.
My “Just Say No to Neighbors” plan lasted less than two days. Since then, I have opened my heart and home to other neighbors, and many have become my extended family. I’m so glad that God ignores my silly resolves. After all, it’s His house too.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, may Your presence continually fill the heart of my home as I invite others within those walls. May it be evident that You are the Great Host within, Who invades the space with Your grace and love for those in my community. Help me to be faithful with the divine appointments You give with neighbors and friends. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- Use today’s key verse (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) to create a “Welcome” sign for your front door or a special room in your house.
- Whatever method you choose, let others know they are welcome in your home and that there is an inviting atmosphere awaiting their approach. It doesn’t matter what your home looks like on the outside, it’s what happens on the inside that makes a difference.
Take some time to pray over each room in your home.
- Start with your doorway. Pray that those who enter your house would not only find an open door for friendship and love, but an open door to know and experience Christ personally in your home.
- Consider what makes each room special and ask God to make His presence an active part of that room’s environment.
- Pray for each chair. That those who would sit in them would find great rest and fellowship in reclining there.
- Pray over each bed. That those who would sleep in your home will find peaceful sleep and comfort during their stay.
- Pray over anything else you feel is an important part of your home environment. That God would be glorified in each object and activity that takes place there.
Leviticus 19:15, “Judge your neighbor fairly.” (NIV)
Psalm 101:5, “Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure.” (NIV)
Proverbs 14:21, “He who despised his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” (NIV)
Proverbs 27:10b, “Better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.” (NIV)
At Home With God,by Sharon Jaynes
Message of the Month Club
A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Friday, 02 September 2005.