A few years back, I heard a pastor preach at chapel when I worked at a Christian nonprofit…he was a guest pastor, and oh my did he bring the Word. I’ll never forget one of the phrases he used: Jesus had been gettin’ all up in his neighborhood.
It’s a term I hadn’t heard before – it had a different meaning than the phrase I’d more often heard: “getting up in my business!” The latter is personal, where the Lord pokes and prods at us individually and the Spirit gets right at the heart of the matter. But the neighborhood? That’s a collective!
Jesus not only wants to work in us individually – He wants to do wonders in our communities. He’s building relationships. tearing down walls between us, giving us an eyeful (or an earful!) of what we have in common and how we can help each other! I’ve come to realize that’s been harder for me to do as I age; I become really comfortable where I am, and I “nest.” If I don’t get out regularly and volunteer at church or in my community, I fall into my hermit patterns!
Last fall, I was pulled into a team to put on an event at church; we had months of preparation to do, with weekly meetings, email checkins, and heaven forbid – some phone calls. GAH! Talk about Jesus getting up in my neighborhood! “Gimme an assignment and I’ll upload it for someone to go do something with – don’t make me get together with people!” He pulled together people of different stripes, with different opinions, and sat us around a table together to solve the challenges ahead.
God got all busy building friendships. Showing each of us the gifts residing in the rest of the group. Teaching us we go farther together, that we have ideas to build on when we’re working as a team. As that project came to an end, I was surprised to find I was sad it was over, rather than relieved to have my time back!
I know, I know, after half a century this is all supposed to be second nature. I used to be very active doing a lot. But I’ve been running a business at home for almost 6 years now, and clearly I’ve gotten really independent. God’s been telling me for a while to get out of the studio. He’s got work for me to do in my neighborhood. How about you?