My neighbor, Robby, and I have a little game that happens most weeks on Tuesday evening. It’s called “see who can grab the other’s trash can and take it down to the curb“. It started out as a simple way that we were being “neighborly”….but eventually turned into a badge of honor. Robby upped the stakes a few months back when he was taking our container down the driveway and saw another neighbor watching from across the street.
“You won’t believe that Mike pays me $60 a week to take his trash down to the curb,” Robby jokingly said as the across-the-street neighbor did a half-chuckle, wondering if Robby was telling the truth or not.
But all kidding aside, we love our neighbors and I’m confident they’d say the same.
So what got me thinking about neighbors this week? Well, that’s the meat of this week’s devotional.
Several times a week, I drive along a cut-through street between Queens Road West and Selwyn Avenue. And by “several times”, I mean literally at least 3-4 times a day. For the past two weeks I’ve noticed two trash cans sitting out on the curb in front of one of the houses.
Just sitting there…..day after day.
And I wonder every time I drive past that house, “Why haven’t they put the cans back near the house? Is the family in town? Do their neighbors…..care….enough….to help out?”
In all honestly, there could be a number of reasons why. Maybe the family is out of town. Maybe there’s been a family emergency. Maybe they’ve just had too much going on to realize the empty cans are out on the street.
I just don’t know. But am I correct to think that something “neighborly” is not happening just a few blocks away from me?
You know, I’m guilty of ignoring the obvious as well. There are neighborhoods adjacent and very near to my comforts in Myers Park where things have been left unattended as well. But I continue to drive by and not offer to be neighborly.
Today’s run was a last minute audible and instead of running towards South Blvd, cutting through the Sedgefield neighborhood, we decided to run through Eastover. If you’re from Charlotte, you’ll know the difference between Sedgefield and Eastover..but those differences alone were not why we chose a different route.
What if someone had suggested running through Grier Heights today?
“Grier Heights…..”, would have been the outcry. “What good (routes) could there be in Grier Heights?”
Recall from the Gospel of John the following:
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Torah and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” JOHN 1:43-46
In those days, the town of Nazareth was considered the lowest of the low. Ironically, Nathanael, who made the bold statement above, was himself from the town of Cana, another small, nothing-great, kind of town. And aside from the wedding miracle, not much has happened at all in Cana, even today. At least Nazareth was at the cross-roads of commerce, but Cana was really off the beaten path.
But Nazareth gets the bad rap.
So Jesus comes from the town with the least expectations of anything “good” can come from there. Suppose for a minute that He had come from Jerusalem? Would things have been any different?
But Jesus came to heal the sick, bring hope to the poor, energize the oppressed, and preach the way to salvation. And the best way to do this was to come from a place of the lowly in order to confound the wise and powerful. In the book, “Twelve Ordinary Men“, the author John MacArthur explains, “He even calls people from the most despised locations. He can also take a flawed person who is blinded by prejudice, and He can change that person into someone used to transform the world.”
Nathanael was transformed….and I know you and I can too.
My prayer this week is that we look for opportunities to be neighborly. And I don’t just mean taking up your neighbor’s trash can or sweeping their driveway. Let’s all look for those neighbors who aren’t like us, in our mind, and look for the opportunities to see how alike we really are…
And soon, I promise, to plan a WAWA run route that takes us through Grier Heights….and beyond!