the weblog of Alan Knox

Who is my neighbor?

Posted by on Oct 1, 2008 in blog links, discipleship, love, service | 8 comments

Mark, at “My Little Light“, has written this poem called “The Neighbor“.

I don’t know your name and I doubt we will ever meet.
I always see you at your church. I live across the street.

I sit out on my front porch and wave at the passers by.
You never wave back. Maybe the sun is just in your eyes.

I shout a hello to your family as the church doors you walk in.
I hear a muttered statement about missing church and sin.

If the doors are open I see you there for every event that’s held.
Services, potlucks, and picnics. Oh, the food that I’ve smelled.

I can hear the instruments and voices as you praise your God.
While I enjoy the music I must admit that I find one thing odd.

I sometimes hear your pastor preach about spreading the word.
I scratch my head and wonder if any of you really heard.

Cause I don’t know your name and I doubt we will ever meet.
I always see you at your church, but none of you see me.

Since our church doesn’t own a building, we don’t have “neighbors” in the sense that Mark is talking about in his poem. However, we do have neighbors. What kind of neighbor am I?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-1-2008

    Mr. Knox I like this post. I to have come to feel we don’t know who our neighbor is concerning the gospel.
    I feel our first neighbor we should be dealing with is our spouse and children for those who are married. I think we sometimes treat them the way the poem describes.

  2. 10-1-2008


    I believe in our pack up and retreat society that is all we do care about. I remeber Jesus says “I did not come to bring peace but a sword”. Many today shrink away because of fear of their families. Not to mention Mr. John Bunyan in his masterpiece speaks a great deal about this.

    I am not saying deny them. But this is more in deed. But we also must be mindful of those outside of our natural family because today tall fences, and busy lives have us consumed with our own families at the expense of being Gospel Centered.


    I love this poem brother. It is right on time. As a matter of fact we would evangelize in areas packed with churches and someone once told me “hey we have lived here for XX years and nobody has ever visited us”. Wow!

  3. 10-1-2008

    Where I am coming from concerning the family is we men don’t even teach our own family the Bible, so how much more the neighbors. We must start in our own homes and in turn go out. My twin daughters are witnessing girls at school because of our talking to them about Jesus. In our old neighborhood in Texas I witnessed to most all of those who lived around me. One in particular came to our home and told us that she got saved and was excited. I planted and someone else watered and God gave the increase. So as if we are not witnessing to our own families first which is our first priority how are we going to do outside of them. I have friends who all they do is witness at the expense of their family. That is not what I want. My wife knows my priority is Christ and she respects me for going out and evangelizing. So yes I will be the first to say tear down the privacy fences also.

  4. 10-1-2008


    A very perceptive poem.

    Many years ago I came to understand, and teach, that our ‘household’ and our ‘neighbours’ are very much a God given mission field. They are all a part of the circle of influence in which God has placed every one of His people, and include EVERY person with whom our lives make contact on a regular basis.

    As a consequence we need to understand words, such as those I’ve mentioned, more broadly, family (as Lionel suggested) and those living next door, but including those in our near neighborhood, as well as those with whom we do business,those from whom we purchase our daily needs, medical services, etc.

    Now with a mission field like that, why would a Christian want to travel to the next suburb, or further, rather than assemble where these people are, where they can see what you are doing, and be included as opportunity arises?

  5. 10-1-2008


    Please, call me Alan. No, we should not forget about our families.


    When we first moved to NC, we were part of a small, traditional church with a steepled building in center of a mill village with a lot of small houses close together. The church and the building had been in the center of this community for over 100 years. It had been there for A couple of times I walked around to get to know the people in the neighborhood. I told some people that I was part of xyz church, and several responded “What church?” I would literally point at the church building… but they had no idea that a church was there. I think that says more about the people’s lack of interest in their community than about the prominence of their building – which was very prominent. So, I know exactly what you’re talking about.

    Aussie John,

    For the most part, we don’t have neighborhood churches any more. The idea that a “local church” is made up of geographically local people is rarely seen today. We drive to our building and drive back home. The church doesn’t know its neighbors, and the neighbors don’t know the church.


  6. 10-1-2008


    Thanks for featuring my poem. I consider it an honor.

    Sometimes I feel led to write a poem. Sometimes I just do it on my own. I would have to say this one was pushed on me by the Spirit. I didn’t really want to write it. Every keystroke was like slapping myself around because I knew this poem was meant for me as much as anyone else.

    Since I wrote it I hope it slaps a few other people around too, and it changes those of us who received the slaps.

    By the way, I would like to invite everyone posting comments here to come check out my blogs too.


  7. 10-2-2008


    Got you bro. I do understand that. My son is now 2.5 and I have taken him out evangelizing with me before and will do it more often so my new one and wife can rest.


    I was once told, when looking for a church home, that it doesn’t matter if you have to commute 30 miles to church as long as it is a biblical church. I thought man, if I am gone all week working, then I am gone all Sunday at “church” exactly how do we minister to the communities we live in. I think this is another issue with the “mega-church” scene. We have people commuting up to an hour to go to a “celebrity” church while simultaneously ignoring their own communities.

  8. 10-2-2008


    Thanks again for the poem. I always look forward to reading each one of your blogs.


    I’ve driven 20-30 minutes away from my neighborhood before. I’m learning more and more how problematic that is.