“We are called to be: light in the darkness; a source of hope; salt; Good Neighbors; Good Stewards; those who consider others more important than themselves; those who love their enemies; those who live in light of eternity.”
Growing up in Brooklyn, I lived in an apartment building adjoined to other buildings. The noise of neighbors and sirens were customary sounds throughout the day and night. Thus, the New York way was to keep to yourself, make no eye contact and mind your own business. Being too inquisitive could be dangerous.
Despite living in the “concrete jungle,” I can still remember acts of neighborly kindness. A childhood friend of mine had alcoholic parents who engaged in weekly knife fights that often brought the police. One of our Christian neighbors took in my friend and raised her until she completed high school and had earned a track college scholarship. I still remember my friend as a strong Christian teenager, who was saved, literally, from a life of destitution and I marvel at the generosity of my neighbors.
Our block, despite being in an extremely dangerous neighborhood, was seen as a model block. People looked out for one another, and residents felt safer walking around at night. Even Sam, our resident homeless man, could expect to be treated with respect and dignity. At times, someone would take up a collection for a family who had lost a loved one which conveyed neighborly love and compassion. It became a “beacon on a hill,” compared to the other blocks.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to be a source of light and hope to those who have none. This charge evokes a natural response of resistance; to remain within one’s comfort zone and to attend only to the concerns of “me and mine.” But God persistently calls us to be first responders, to go beyond ourselves, beyond our “now” thinking and invites us to give, to share and to love, so that others would see us as instruments of God’s goodness and ultimately be drawn to Him.
Sandra Zamble has attended the Lake Forest campus since 2001. She is involved in the 1-to-1 Care team, gospel choir and altar prayer service ministry. Her husband, Tony, serves as an elder at Christ Church.
Help me LORD to be a light to someone, to share the truth of Your love and mercy in a practical and encouraging way, drawing them and me into Your transforming presence. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16