3 Ways to Use Your Yard to Love Your Neighbors
PLANT - WORK - PRAY
A three-fold template for how to love our neighbors as ourselves, from Jeremiah 29:5,7:
1. INCREASE OUR RELATIONAL PROPERTY VALUE “Build homes, and plan to stay. PLANT gardens, and eat the food they produce.” Jeremiah 29:5
We cannot love our neighbors if we never see them or are never home or outside. Investing in our home takes time and effort, but the reward is far greater than the initial deposit. Our home is the first and most regular impression we make, whether we are home or out of town. A simple wreath and welcome sign give our homes a warm sense of hospitality and openness. Regular maintenance, weed containment, and seasonal flowers and decorations bring joy to those who live around us.
We may even have multiple ‘yards’ to use for building greater relational property value. Is our cubicle clean or cluttered? People take notice when their neighbors make an effort to make their community a better place (and when they don’t). Jeremiah reminds us that God’s people are meant to start movements that lead to brighter, better communities.
2. USE OUR HOMES AND ‘YARDS’ AS A MINISTRY TOOL: “WORK for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you.” Jeremiah 27:7a
Now that we have a great looking ‘yard,’ we have an inviting place to use for ministry. I remember returning from a mission trip to Jamaica and posting pictures in my cubicle at the insurance company where I worked. So many people enjoyed them, I started to make copies and give them away. Now I love to design verses and quotes on Canva.com and give them to friends as gifts.
We look forward to having people over for game nights, give out the best candy and water bottles at Halloween, and have toys and games ready for the kiddos that linger on our soft grass especially in the long Florida summer evenings. Recently a little visitor wandered to our yard and knocked on the door. His dad came looking for him soon after. I’m glad he knows our house is a safe house for him when he is lost or lonely. I’ve seen others share church service or Vacation Bible School information with a simple yard sign.
3. PRAY FOR YOUR COMMUNITY: “PRAY to the LORD for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7b
This morning, I went for a prayer run around my neighborhood with my puppy. I’ve seen countless answered prayers and neighbors growing in their relationships with Jesus since we moved in. The two families on either side of us have been baptized in the past year. Faith and works go hand in hand, as we know from the book of James. Pray and act. Your welfare is intertwined inextricably with the welfare of your spheres of influence. But then, loving your neighbor as yourself is a big deal!
How are you planting, working, and praying? We would love to hear!