This past Sunday, I took a break from preaching, having given it over to a trusted friend and leader in our young church. Because I wasn’t preaching, and was technically “off,” I chose to arrive on time and leave shortly after the conclusion of the service around 11:15 a.m.
One of my boys’ (ages 8 and 6) Christmas presents were tickets to go see the Bucs take on their rival, the Carolina Panthers, and potentially finish with the first winning record they’ve had in years. So I headed out to my car to unsuccessfully look for my beautifully sweat-stained Bucs hat when my neighbor accosted me with a Bucs season ticket holder pre-paid parking pass.
Score. He wasn’t using it because he wasn’t going to the game. Then he mentioned something about me taking his four tickets; that way, I could take my wife. So the wheels were in motion for me to use his tickets, and then give away my three. The only problem was that no one at Harbor Community Church, or on Facebook wanted them.
So at the last minute, I considered giving them to my teenage neighbors who also attends Harbor. All was set, and these two took them, joyfully setting aside the flexible plans they had previously arranged.
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Of course, we didn’t leave immediately after worship, because, well, I like to talk. And I have a very friendly church. So we missed the kickoff and first drive, but finally arrived at our seats: the seats which my neighbor Rick gave us. Then Ricky and Carmen headed off to their seats: the seats which I had purchased.
During the game I received a text from another neighbor and fellow Harbor family, asking me if we were indeed at the game. Apparently her nose bleed tickets were just a few sections over from my originally purchased tickets. The two teenagers found their way over, enjoyed the game with her and her son, and eventually chose to leave with them. As a result, we ended up enjoying the last second victory as a family.
Why tell this story? Because it shows the blessing of a living in a loving neighborhood. I can’t say that I made this happen. It just happened to all come together.
Fact: I have good neighbors. They were good neighbors before we moved in. Fact: I’m not a perfect neighbor. I need grace.
But we do actively try to love our neighbors and they certainly actively love us (one brought us a huge ham for Christmas!). Every Friday night before we fall asleep, Amy and I pray for our neighborhood and neighbors. I can’t promise Bucs tickets, or that other neighbors will give your invitees a ride home, but I can promise that you have been but put into your neighborhood, apartment, condo, for a reason. Perhaps you will be greatly served, or you will serve sacrificially. Perhaps you will be blessed, or you will be the one blessing. Regardless, a good neighborhood, or maybe just a good neighbor, is priceless and honors the One who put you there. Maybe for you, as I have found for me, it does open up opportunities to point people to Jesus (Acts 17:26-27).
Rev. Geoff Henderson, at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @theapostleGH. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Herald written by local clergy members.