INDIANAPOLIS: As many of you are aware, ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover is in town this week to build a home for a local teacher Bernard McFarland (click here for previous article by IndyChristian ). Consequently there has been a reawakening to the idea of neighbors helping neighbors to better our community.
(photo from WRTV; link is below)
It seems peculiar to me that it so often takes a force from outside the community to come in to motivate people to help each other right here. So many local vendors and businesses are donating materials. Those resources and the volunteers were here all the time. It just took the spark of a national TV show to fan the flame of community action? Why is that?
Hoosiers are known for their “Hoosier Hospitality,” yet I have to admit that sometimes I don’t understand why it is that it is so hard for people to treat their neighbors as well as they treat visitors.
Though, I still don’t understand why this is, it reminds me of what Jesus says in the Bible about a prophet not being as well received in his own home town as he is elsewhere: Luke 4:24 (New American Standard Bible)”And He said, “Truly I say to you,no prophet is welcome in his hometown.” Perhaps we are simply so accustomed to the status quo that it takes outside inertia to get us to become fully aware of what is already all around us.
Do we believe that we are simply “too busy” to take a little time to get familiar with our neighbors? We may have become so focused on striving for the “newest, greatest and best,” that we become blinded to the needs of others. People may think they don’t have enough time or money to offer to help others. How do we know unless we at least endeavor to find out? So often, what seems as a very trivial thing to us, means the world to someone else.
By being thankful for the many blessings that we already have, we can see that we DO have something to offer. We can make an impact on the world around us… and not just the physical environment either. More importantly, we can show people that we value them; each and every person matters.
So, while Indianapolis is all abuzz with the happenings of a national TV show taping in our midst, I want to encourage you… that is you reading this article… to keep the ball rolling. Those of you who have tried volunteering or seen for the first time how very much can be accomplished when people work together for good, be encouraged. See what a mighty thing can happen when we come together in love and caring for others.
Practical application: some thoughts on how to makeover the neighborhood.
1. Take a Walk. So many of us are bustling from here to there by car, or bus, barely making it to our destinations on time, that we do not “stop and smell the roses.” Have you considered taking a walk with your family after supper? Make a game of it by asking the kids to see how many people they can get to smile or wave back at you, how many dogs bark as you pass, take a few trash bags and collect litter as you go, etc.
2. Get to know your neighbors. How many different neighbors could you tell me about right now? What do you really know about them: kids, pets, career, school, church, or are they a gardener, might they pair up with you for exercise class or walking or like to golf?
3. Ask Questions. How have you been? Is there anything I can do to help? How can I pray for you? Would you like to join us for a bar-b-que Saturday afternoon?
4. Just be available. Everyone needs to feel valued and you can help that happen for someone. By simply flashing someone a smile or wave, you have acknowledged them, and done something of value yourself. How cool is that? By saying something like, “I am going to the store, do you want me to pick anything up for you? I am going to be there anyway,” you have let the other person know that you are happy to be of service to them.
You see, it doesn’t really take much to makeover our neighborhood. Let us not rely on outside forces to bring to our attention that we have within us the ability to make our community a better place to live. May God spur our hearts into action by helping us be more aware of those around us and any needs that we may help meet.