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  • Writer's pictureJill Jarrell Newsome

Next Door & Next Steps

I shared that during this time of Separation in Place, we social distance with our next door neighbors most evenings. We bring our own chairs to the yards and our own snacks so that we do not touch anyone or anything from another household. I look forward to this time. It is a time of fellowship and laughter. It reminds me of being at my Granny's when I was growing up. We sat outside every evening after supper and visited with neighbors and anyone else who stopped by. When some of our restrictions are loosened or lifted, I hope our next steps keep our neighbor time a priority.

Moving forward to our new beginnings, for all of us, I hope we keep many of our new priorities! We have had the time to think about what is really important. I would say I was reminded that it is God, faith and family for me. I had so much clutter in my life that kept me from doing other important things such as just spending time with neighbors. In many ways this time has been a blessing. Jesus said there are two things that are more valuable in life than anything else: loving God and loving each other. Hopefully, during this pandemic most of us have been reminded of this.

Matthew 22: 37-39, "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'" "Love the Lord your God..." is first and greatest commandment. In John 14: 15, we are told, "If you love me, keep my commands." If we truly love God, we will keep all the other commandments as well as this greatest one. 1 John 4: 19, "We love because he first loved us." When we love God, it empowers us to love other people.

Why were we put on this earth? Not for our career. Not for our financial accomplishments. Not for our social status. Not for our children's athletic accomplishments. Not for our accomplishments. Not for our achievements. God put us here to enrich His Kingdom of Heaven. He wants a relationship with us. He chose us; now we choose Him. God also created us to desire to share our lives with others and for friendships. When we love God with all we our heart, first, our love multiplies and we have more love to give to others. That love is healthy because our hearts' needs are met by Him first. When we love Him with all our heart and learn to love others, we can enrich His Kingdom.

When we put God first and others second we will want to do good works. We will want to obey God and imitate Jesus. Then we will honor our fellow believers, care for our neighbors and want to shine light into a dark world. Matthew 5: 16, "In the same way, let your light shine before others,that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." The Christian life is meant to be shared with others and to inspire others to follow Christ.

Life is not meant to be lived alone. Living that way will leave us discouraged, worn out and weak. We need each other to learn from each other, laugh together, encourage each other and hold each other accountable. We need to love others and be loved by others. And we all need to remind each other of the ultimate love we have in Jesus!


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