I honestly love washing our car. Not that I have the nicest car on the street or that I am the most detailed person when it comes to cleaning the car, but I enjoy seeing my car clean. It stems from my father who always took such pride in the care of his vehicles and his example was an outward expression of the statement, 'If you take care of your car, it will take care of you.'
My family would tell you that it is a bit of a ritual for me that when the weather is clear on a Saturday morning, I will be out in the front yard washing the car.
This past week this routine took on a whole new value to me. I was washing my car in the beautiful autumn sunshine (remember we live on the opposite side of the world) and something interesting began to unfold before me. First, one of the neighbour kids rode by to say hello and asked if our daughter was able to come out to ride around the neighbourhood and then another neighbour stopped to chat. What made this second opportunity unique was that this woman lives in seclusion across the street and rarely acknowledges our family. On this day while I had a soapy sponge in my hand, she was keen to talk. We discussed the changes in the neighbourhood, the growth of our community, the weather and then she asked me more in-depth questions about our family. Then with a smile and a wave, she went on with her day and I went back to getting tree sap off of the car. It was a lovely connection and left me with a smile on my face.
As I progressed around the car, all of a sudden a familiar friend laid a red frisbee at my feet. Another neighbour's border collie looked at me expectantly to throw the toy for him to fetch. As I succumbed to his request, I knew that not too far behind him would be another neighbour. This young husband and future father came over to say G'day and with the same sponge in hand, we had a simple but enjoyable discussion. We talked about his future as a father, the majesty of the country we live in and due to his faith in Christ, we had a great conversation about the blessings we have in the Lord. As we talked about the more significant things of the world, we threw a spit covered ball and a chewed up frisbee for a few minutes and then he headed off to the local park.
Something that stuck with me about the conversation was how this young bloke stated how much he enjoyed just popping over to have a chat. Something we seem to miss out on in amongst the busyness of this modern life.
He is right. Do we take time to reach out to our neighbours? We could be more intentional in reaching out to those who live around us, but have you considered the opportunities that may come about by just being there? Getting out and living in your community and look to see how the Lord will bless you by merely being available to those who live closest to us.
Sure, I was able to incorporate the message of the Bible into my conversations with my neighbours, but I think these discussions were even more meaningful to me than to those people that I had the privilege of conversing with on that day. My car did get cleaned eventually, but more importantly, I saw the value of getting out and living in my community and to watch to see how the Lord will work by just living for Him.
I love washing our car.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” - Matthew 22:36-40