Thursday is for Discipleship
Revised post from the Spring of 2011. [As you plant your garden, think of what you can grow for your neighbors. How can you use your green thumb to bless your neighbors? How will you offer them tomatoes, or carrots, or beets, or peppers, or squash? Can you swap recipes in the neighborhood? Could you have a “grilling the garden” day with a couple of neighbors from what you grow in your garden? Think of ways to bless and build relationship with your neighbors for the glory of God. Here’s a story of how this worked out for me a few years ago. I hope it inspires you to take action yourself, and bathe everything you do in prayer.]
Making Disciples is patient work. On Monday I drove back from Michigan with a new witnessing tool—asparagus. Sunday afternoon included a trip to an asparagus farm, something I had never seen before. Friends from Trinity Fellowship (in Big Rapids, MI) invited me to come out and see the farm and gave me 8-9 lbs. of asparagus (my estimate)—more than my wife and I were capable of eating.
Stupendous-wife bundled and bagged handfuls of asparagus and I started the neighborhood rounds. First there was Mark and Marilyn. Mark is my golfing buddy exploring the claims of Christ and wrestling with Jesus and emphysema at the same time. Marilyn, his wife, is gifted with hospitality and says asparagus is her favorite. Then it was on to a gospel-loving neighbor going through a painful divorce. Another way to express our care for she and her boys.
Next it was over to Mahmoud, our Muslim neighbor—no answer. On to the Sidenstick’s, the family of one of the boys I coached when my son was playing youth baseball. (Oh, how I miss that season of life with my son.) Here the conversation lasts for 20 minutes, as the son is there and we catch up on life, graduations, jobs, plans and I get to weave the story of Christ into the conversation. Seeds planted for the start of a house church? Maybe.
Back home for more asparagus. Now its over to the neighbor who we have befriended and brought to church. Husband has since been baptized and wife has begun a Bible study with Super-wife. (I am so fortunate. A wife who loves me, despite my idiocies and a God who forgives, and four great kids. What more could a man ask for?)
While I deliver asparagus to one neighbor, Super-woman-of-God takes asparagus to the widow next door, seeking to break down barriers and open up windows to grace.
Now its time to tend to the home issues. Got to cut the lawn, ten days of rain-saturated-growth while away in Michigan. By the time I get to the backyard, new neighbor behind us is cutting his lawn. Turn the mower off. “Are you my new neighbor?” Fifteen minutes later, Lionel and Tiffany have been invited for pie. A good Monday afternoon.
Lord, thanks for these opportunities to interact with neighbors. Draw each to yourself. Show them the beauty of holiness. Give them the grace that leads to repentance. Make us bold for your glory and their joy. In the Name that is above all Names, from under the blood of your Son, I plead for the souls of my neighbors. Amen.
Asparagus season is coming soon. Remember your neighbors when you plant your garden this year.
Update: Mark, in the story above, committed his life to Christ before he took his last breath. I’m looking forward to seeing him again as we worship the King around His throne.