Neighboring Takes Effort

I was amazed as I watched this crazy sport of building human towers. Oh, it’s big competition in the Catalonia area of Spain, as both kids, teenagers, men, and women link together, standing on each other’s shoulders and backs, climbing up over each level to see who can build the tallest, “castells,” human towers. Just Google ‘human towers’ or ‘castells’ and look at these amazing team efforts. Just a few weeks ago, the biannual competition was taking place in Tarragona, Spain. It was incredible to watch this group of about one hundred people systematically get in place, help out their teammates, and stay strong to do their part. They did not do it alone. Like a well-oiled machine where each gear and cog move in partnership, this team hung on to each other until the littlest of the team (a child) climbs to the very top and raises their hand. The team that can build and disassemble without collapsing gains points for speed, stability, and height. This sport is not for the faint hearted, especially for the little ones who have to climb some ten levels to a height of over 50 feet! Human tower building takes strength, balance, courage, the willingness to work with others, and much practice.

Being part of a human tower team is a lot like being the good neighbor Jesus asks us to be (Matthew 22:39). Being a good neighbor takes strength. It’s not always easy to be kind, loving, helpful, and giving. It also takes effort to push past the pull of selfishness and think of others over ourselves.
Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Galatians 6:9-10 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Being a good neighbor also takes balance. It is the balance of organizing our lives so we have time to connect with and bless others.
Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Courage is a huge factor in neighboring. What if they don’t reciprocate? What if they are mean or unkind or too busy? There are a lot of ‘what ifs,’ but what about the positive ‘what ifs?’ What if you meet your new best friend? What if you are a great blessing and encouragement to them? Or them to you??
1 John 3:17-18 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

To be a good neighbor it does take practice. Sure some neighboring skills like being friendly, having good conversation, and being adept in that emotional intelligence of discerning other’s feelings are greater in some than others, but we can learn. We can learn through practice. Yes, we will mess up and make mistakes, but that’s how we learn. Neighboring is an art that takes lots of practice to be good, to be that good neighbor your community needs. Some of you are great at neighboring, please continue. Others of us need to put a bit more effort into it. For when we do, it’s amazing. Even more amazing than those human towers.

Church can be a great place to be strengthened, understand our balance, gain some courage, and even practice. If you are not already connected to a church, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or one of our branch churches in either Los Alamitos or Garden Grove as we are in a new teaching series called, “There’s Room: Life in God’s Family.” We are learning from the Bible book of Ephesians talking about the inclusive, loving, caring reality of God’s family and neighboring. Our website has all the information you would need. www.cypresschurch.net . It would be great to have you join us.

Seeking to put some additional efforts into neighboring along with you,
Mike

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