the weblog of Alan Knox

God’s sense of humor, or sense of timing?

Posted by on Jun 24, 2007 in hospitality, service | 5 comments

Since we moved into our home almost a year ago, we wanted our home to be a place of service. We enjoy opening up our home for single guests, small groups, and even large groups. However, we also want our home to be a place where people are introduced to, instructed in, and encouraged toward the gospel. This is not always easy, since it has been difficult for us to get to know some of our neighbors – not all of them, but some of them.

Two things happened this week that left a neighbor sitting in our living room for the first time – and none of the occurrences were planned by or orchestrated by us.

First, one neighbor locked herself out of her house. Since Margaret was home, she came next door to our house to ask to use the phone. This is the first time that she had even been on our property, much less been in our home. We have walked over to their house a few times, talked to them whenever possible, but they’ve never come to our house. But, there she was, standing at our front door, asking to use our phone.

Second, a neighbor that we do not know and her 6 month old son was walking around the neighborhood with another neighbor that we know. Just as they were approaching our house, it started to rain – not a gentle summer rain, but a strong thunderstorm. (What is even more interesting is that we were watching the local weather at that very moment. The weatherman had just said that it would not rain that night when the thunderstorm started.) Anyway, since they did not want the baby to get wet, they came to our house. They waited in our living room talking to us until the rain stopped.

Now, the question is, can we use these two opportunities that God gave us to build on our relationships and point them toward Jesus Christ? Also, do we force these relationships, or do we again allow God to provide those additional opportunities?


5 Comments

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  1. 6-24-2007

    Alan,
    It sounds to me like the door has been opened to get to know these neighbors better. At the same time, you simply cannot force a relationship. You can, however, make yourself available to these newly met neighbors and pray that God would use you and your family as salt and light in their lives. If it’s God who has opened the door (so to speak) then ask Him to grow these friendships. This way all you have to do is be available. For most (especially those in ministry), simply being available is the biggest problem. We can be so busy doing “things” that we don’t have time to build relationships with our neighbors.

    Blessings…
    Brandon

  2. 6-24-2007

    Brandon,

    We have been praying for opportunities for several months. We are very excited about some of the events of the last week – both those that I’ve mentioned, and others that I have not mentioned. God continually amazes me and reminds me that he loves our neighbors more than we do. I think I’ll continue let him do the work.

    -Alan

  3. 6-25-2007

    Alan, thanks for sharing this. I think Brandon is right on about this. Just be available and continue to look for opportunities like you reflect in this post.

    The other thing I would add is something that continues to free me up in relating to people. Somehow we Christians tend to think that every relationship needs to be a “start to finish” relationship, in the sense that if we don’t pursue making that person a fully-functioning disciple of Jesus Christ, we’re somehow being lazy or disobedient.

    However, I have come to understand that sometimes we’re planting, sometimes we’re watering what someone else has planted, and sometimes we’re able to see the increase that God brings. Other times, we have no idea on this side of eternity what difference we’ve made.

    So, be faithful (I’m speaking to myself, too, here) when those opportunities are there, but don’t force the relationship.

    We have, on occasion, had opportunities to reach out to people near us, and sometimes we don’t see any “results” from that. But I have to trust that God is using every one of those times as a seed planted.

    Just a few days ago, we decided to grab dinner at Chick-Fil-A before I went to my evening performance. While there, someone Christy used to work with years ago came over to say “hi”. Christy hadn’t seen this woman for 10+ years, if I remember correctly.

    We found out that they recently moved to the subdivision right across the street from us. She asked for our phone number, and the very next day, she asked Christy to come over in the morning for coffee! Christy spent about 2.5 hours there.

    Who knows how God will use that renewed friendship?

  4. 6-25-2007

    That’s another great point Steve. Do you guys remember my post on a “chance meeting” where I had a great conversation with a stranger in a restaurant? I just “knew” that this would turn into this man becoming a Christian or that we would somehow become friends. As it turns out, we’ve just not been able to get together again. We’ve tried but he is extremely busy and it just hasn’t happened. I believe, as Steve said, that a seed was planted or watered that day. I knew that God was at work but in hindsight I really had no idea what His plan was.

    Maybe one day we’ll know.

    Blessings…
    Brandon

  5. 6-25-2007

    Steve,

    I agree with your comment completely! This weekend I taught on trusting God… and I think this trust must be in every aspect of our lives, even in relationships and evangelism.

    Brandon,

    I remember your blog post about the encounter that you mentioned. I pray that God continues to give all of us encounters where we can point others toward him.

    -Alan