Your neighborhood was planned by God for a purpose. It may not be a permanent home for you but today you are meant to live there and to live well.
Your Neighborhood is not an Accident.
Your neighborhood, no matter how grand or how humble, how affluent or how poverty stricken was planned by God for a purpose. It may not be a permanent home for you but today you are meant to live there and to live well.
I have learned this lesson many times over. The late afternoon when a neighbor stopped on the sidewalk and I later realized she was exactly the friend I had prayed for 2 years for. The Sunday after church when our house was a bustle of people but the neighbor stopped my husband to ask for prayer. The day my husband came home and asked me to go pick up a girl who was left on the side of the road in our neighborhood and find out what she needed. The time we invited a neighbor to morning worship and she came 3 months later on the Sunday my husband was expositing through a text that talked about her biggest issue with Christianity. Those were all moments I knew… my neighborhood is not an accident.
I bought my house because it was the first house my husband agreed to. But I know the real reason is because God wanted me to be here today. God orchestrated my life and my neighbor’s lives so that we could live life mere feet from one another. God wanted me here to bring dinner to a new widow. He wanted me here to invite a neighbor child for a meal and see her reaction at our table prayer. God placed me here to live out my Christianity in front of these people. That is both beautiful and intimidating.
But I’m not the only one. God has placed all of us in our neighborhoods. He has commissioned us with the task of reaching the world with the Gospel and He placed us in our specific part of the world.
God has placed you in your neighborhood. When you received your house as a gracious gift of God, it was not only the house you received but also the people in the houses around you. God sovereignly orchestrated your life such that He placed you in your neighborhood with your neighbors for a reason. Today He wants you to live next to those people… Tomorrow may be different but today that is His plan.
The Reason You have Your Neighbors
And so the question becomes, why? Why do I have my home? Is it so that I can be an island unto myself, pulling in and out of the garage with not much more than a passing glance to the world around me? Or did God place me in my neighborhood, with my home, and my neighbors so that I could be a blessing to the nations?
When you searched for your perfect home, you did so with intention. It may have been a quick decision, made out of absolute necessity, or it may have been a long, well-thought through scenario in which you had several great options to weigh. But in either case, you chose your house and God went before you. He gave you the neighbors that would surround you and He is bringing the nations to your doorstep. But that isn’t always easy.
Sometimes, opening your door will mean you meet amazing neighbors and become fast friends (Read about my experience with that HERE). Sometimes, opening your door will mean people will come who don’t look, act, or think anything like you. But God already knew who you needed and who needed you and those are the people He placed around you.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Sometimes, opening your door will mean people will come who don’t look, act, or think anything like you. But God already knew who you needed and who needed you and those are the people He placed around you.” quote=”Sometimes, opening your door will mean people will come who don’t look, act, or think anything like you. But God already knew who you needed and who needed you and those are the people He placed around you.”]
Isn’t that such a beautiful thought? When the neighbor’s dog barks incessantly, God knew and God was ok with you living so close to that noise. When the neighbor doesn’t maintain their property, God knew and He wanted you to be there to help. When the neighbor’s children run around destroying things and bringing in bad influences, God knew and He wanted you there to show them how a Christian should respond.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t a time for choosing a better neighborhood when an option arrives. This means that for today, God has placed you where you are and He has a plan and a purpose in it.
God’s Purpose for your Life with Neighbors
It is not an accident that your neighbor spies on your house all the time, that is your opportunity to show him what Christian living looks like. It makes him a captive audience.
It is not an accident that your neighbor never has the right tool for the she is doing, that is your opportunity to show her what Christian generosity looks like.
It is not an accident that children and teens are running wild, that is your opportunity to show them the grace and mercy of God while walking them through what justice looks like when the situation calls for it.
Your neighborhood, no matter what it looks like, was given to you so you could be a blessing to it today. It is not yours only to consume. It is yours to pour into and to work for good within. Viewing it that way strengthens resolve. Trust me…
We are missionaries. Our homes are not our own. They are not only havens for our families. They are outposts for the Gospel in enemy territory, that God has chosen and purposefully planted, and that is a beautiful thing!
So, invite that lonely neighbor over for coffee. Chat with the one who always seems to be outside. Walk in your neighborhood and pray for it. Seek opportunities to get to know your neighbors and to fall in love with the special purpose God has designed for you today, for His glory, on your street.
And know I am attempting to do the same thing. We walk this road together friend. A road less travelled which will undoubtedly lead to uncomfortable situations and beautiful opportunities. A road God has designed for believers in and through our homes every day.
If you are looking for some VERY practical ways that you can start being a better neighbor, I’ve got the perfect resource for you! Check out our printable list in the resource library. Subscribe below to gain access!