Everyone can understand the value of having good neighbors. Neighbors look out for each other. They help each other in times of need. They stand together when their community is threatened. All in all, it's important to be a good neighbor--and being a good neighbor is a vital part of stewardship.
In Scripture, the word neighbor is used repeatedly, which is a good sign that God puts great value in us managing well our role as such. Here are just a few verses on the topic:
"Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you" (Proverbs 3:29)
"He answered, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Luke 10:27).
"Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up" (Romans 15:2).
"For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Galatians 5:14).
A common theme throughout God's Word, especially within these verses, is to "love your neighbor as yourself." Our neighbors are more than just the people who live next door or down the street; they are the people around us--friends, coworkers, church family, and those who cross our paths daily. It's our job as stewards to love our neighbors.
So how can we be good neighbors--even more, how can we teach kids to be good neighbors? Consider these simple tips:
1. Embrace An "Others First" Mentality
Want to be blessed? Bless somebody else. When you start to put others needs above your own, you'll always be amazed at how God meets your own needs. Always. Every time.
2. Look for Needs You Can Meet
Is it obvious that someone along your daily path is struggling? Do you see a need that you have the resources or ability to meet? Dive in and offer assistance. You might just be the hero your neighbor has been holding out for.
3. Be Intentional About Hospitality
Don't just sit back and wait for someone to ask for help or wisdom. Be intentional about asking how you can serve or assist those along your path. Use good boundaries, but ultimately use every moment to be hospitable.
If we put as much effort into loving our neighbors as we do ourselves, our world can truly be a better place. Together, we can make a difference. Let's go and be good neighbors starting today!