Do you know your neighbours? When you spot them outside their home, as you head back from work or take out the bins, venture beyond the old ‘hey neighbour’ nod. Take the time to get to know them, show a genuine interest in their lives, and decide to help where you can.
Green: How often do you say hi to your neighbours? Take that moment where you meet and spend time getting to know them a little more.
Amber: Invite a neighbour you don’t know over for coffee or dinner.
Red: Tell them, ‘I’m taking part in this daily generosity challenge called 40acts; is there anything I could help you with this week?’
“…Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39 NIV)
At the end of our garden stands a huge green wall masquerading as a hedge. We’d recently moved our family home to pioneer a new church plant and after a few months in our new home we realised this huge green monster at the end of the garden needed cutting back. Our next-door neighbour had kindly offered to lend us his electric hedge trimmer, so I gratefully accepted. And one hot summer’s day I started the mammoth task of trimming back this imposing wall of branches, twigs and leaves.
Things escalated – I ventured in and out of our neighbour’s garden to trim his side of the hedge, I borrowed his ladder, we passed things back and forth over the fence and we laughed together, joking about the size of the job. I then visited our other next-door neighbour. She is well into her 90s and lives alone. I offered to trim her side of the hedge too. So now I was roaming across two gardens and borrowing several neighbours’ garden waste bins to dispose of the cuttings.
Just as I was near finishing the job, disaster struck and the hedge trimmer gave up. Clearly overwhelmed by the enormous task, it just sort of died! What would I tell my neighbour? There was only one thing I could do. I went online and found a replacement electric hedge trimmer. I decided it would be nice to upgrade it to a more powerful one. This decision certainly wasn’t convenient, nor cheap, but as I completed the purchase I felt a genuine joy within at being able to give my neighbour a brand new trimmer to replace the one he’d entrusted to me.
It was painful to tell him that his hedge trimmer had died so I was relieved to hand him the upgraded replacement the next day. He was genuinely overwhelmed and decided that this new model would be ours to share.
It started with an overgrown hedge and now we have a communal neighbourhood hedge trimmer and a shared story of struggle, teamwork and generosity.