“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
It’s the simple things. I came home today from running errands to find small figures of Spiderman, Captain America, and Batman seated on the little wrought iron garden chair outside my front door. I immediately knew that my neighbor had come by and left another little calling card of love. That is simply what she does and the kind of person she is. She brings a smile and leaves a calling card of love. Sometimes it is toys that her own sons no longer play with. Sometimes it’s a text message telling the neighbors on our cul-de-sac that her “community” garden is ripe for the picking. She will even leave shears, gloves, and peach baskets on her front porch for those who come to harvest the vegetables of their choice to make it easy for them. She will share her supper or stretch her supper to feed two or four more at the drop of a hat. Whether it is leftovers that will soon spoil or a tiny orchid she found at the grocery store, my neighbor is always looking for ways to spread the love and share the joy. And make no mistake, I am, by far, only one of so very many who are on the receiving end of her smiles and her little calling cards of love.
My neighbor’s stock and trade are a staggering generosity of spirit. I have never known or had a neighbor quite like her. She reminds me of Jesus nearly every time we are together. Make no mistake, she is a flesh and blood woman with struggles and sins of her own, but there is a light that shines out of her, that beckons me and nearly everyone who knows her to come closer into the Christ-centered circle of her love. She is a lighthouse for God’s love.
I don’t know if you have a neighbor like this or if you have a desire to become like this neighbor of mine. As with all people who are filled to the brim with the Spirit of the Living God, folks like my neighbor make you thirsty for more of the living water that seems to flow effortlessly from them. They also make you want to join in and dispense some of that living water whenever and wherever you can.
So I encourage you to begin small. Begin simple. And trust God to show you the way. If possible, why don’t you try to connect with the needs, the desires, and the dreams of your neighbors? And then begin to offer them a smile and a little calling card of love. If you are a mom of younger children, share your outgrown toys with a new grandmother or a neighbor with children who are younger than your own. If you are a grandmother, consider offering to pick up milk, bread, and eggs for that young woman who cannot seem to find the time to make a grocery run. I know a lady who grows rows of zinnias in her backyard that are just there for the picking. She puts a sign in her yard and allows people she doesn’t know to take a bouquet. It might be a card you drop in the mail or a sticky note on the door handle of a friend’s car. It doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be grand.
I don’t know about you, but I am always moved to praise and thankfulness to my heavenly Father by the little unexpected acts of love. I know that Jesus did not neglect them during his time on earth. It is His heart we seek to follow each time we leave someone with a kind word or deed that whispers to their heart, “You are special. You are loved. You are treasured.” Let Him lead you in His way.