Our good friends and mentors, James and Juanelle, came to visit us a few weeks ago. We showed them around our place and then went out to eat dinner together.
They are always teaching us something great.
Juanelle said something that stuck with me this time. “If you really want to make an impact on someone you have to go out of your way to do something nice for them. Going out of your way is the key.”
She is so right.
She learned this from Jesus of course. The one who is always going out of His way for us.
And so now I’m trying to take this lesson to heart and put it into practice. I’m looking for ways to “go out of my way” to make my neighbors feel welcome and loved.
We’ve got a calendar on our refrigerator where each day I write who I invested in, or who I invited to join us at something.
Like when we asked our across the hall neighbors over for dinner. (They came over last week). Or when we had the engaged couple who is expecting their first baby over for dinner a few days before that. (They are so excited to have someone going through things a few months before them to show them the ropes).
Or when I saw one of my Chinese neighbors watching a world cup match in the lobby TV by himself, I went to get extra meat to put on the grill and shared lunch with him while we watched the game. He was obviously just excited to have someone to watch the game with as he is new to the country.
Or when I was doing a welcome visit and stayed and talked, but mostly listened to a widow for an hour as she told me about her life, her hopes and her fears. She thanked me for being a great listener.
Or this Monday, I had some leftover sausages from our 4th of July party, so I cooked lunch for all of the apartment office and maintenance staff. Our manager, who is not one to give out compliments, texted me this afterwards… “Very thoughtful. Thank you. Glad y’all are a part of our team.”
Okay, I fear this sounds like I’m tooting my horn here and that is not the goal of this post.
My point is that the idea Juanelle passed along from her teacher (Jesus) is really working! Not only am I seeing people respond overwhelmingly to these acts of “going out of our way” but I feel like its making me a genuinely nicer person. Going out of our way is transforming us into better people ourselves.
Its helping me learn to genuinely love my neighbors. And that my friends is perhaps the most important outcome of all.
Please pray for more opportunities to go out of our way with our neighbors.