Have you ever watched the Andy Griffith Show? Both my husband, Mark, and I grew up watching it and have passed it on to our children thanks to DVDs. Quotes from the show pop up throughout life in our house. While on the cruise I decided to try leg of lamb. As soon as the waitress walked away my son, Sam, turned to me and said “Leg of lamb, Andy’s favorite dish” which is a direct quote from one of the episodes. We all laughed because just saying that one line reminded all of us of the entire episode.
One of the things I loved about the program, and the time period it was set in, is how they would gather on the front porch in the evenings. Neighbors would drop in for a visit for no apparent purpose other than fellowship. We’ve lost that tradition in our culture. Now instead of sitting out on front porches (which few houses even have anymore) people are in their backyard on their patio or deck. Many times those backyards are fenced in with six foot privacy fences. Most of us don’t know our neighbors past those immediately next door or across the street. Fellowship with our neighbors is rare and when it does take place, it is scheduled. The pop in visit just doesn’t seem to happen anymore.
Fellowship has been an important part of the Christian faith from the beginning. Acts 2:42-45 tells how they met together, ate together and took care of one another’s needs. Today, we rarely even know our neighbors names, let alone their needs. Hebrews 10:25 challenges us, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another– and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We’re called to spend time getting to know one another and encouraging one another. As the Body of Christ we are to sharpen one another in our faith [Proverbs 27:17]. We’re called to love our neighbors as ourselves [Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, and Galatians 5:14]. You can’t love who you don’t know.
Take some time today to connect with a neighbor. You might have to actually introduce yourself to them for the first time. Maybe you’ve lost touch over time. Invite them over for coffee or dessert. Make an effort to get to know them and what’s going on in their world. You never know when your next mission assignment or your new best friend is right next door.