Loving Your Neighbor Amidst COVID-19
As I scroll through social media looking at empty shelves where toilet paper should be, followed by ridiculous Corona memes, it’s easy to try and laugh through what can be an extremely anxiety inducing situation. When I see one friend sharing every drastic statistical possibility and the next who is ridiculing all of the sheep for falling for the conspiracy theory, I can’t help but think of what an incredible opportunity we have to show true hospitality in the coming days and weeks. What do I mean by hospitality? I like to think of it as giving someone space enough to be seen and then loving them the best way you know how. Sounds easy enough, right?
Oftentimes, in our fast paced thrill ride of a life, it seems difficult to find capacity to practice such hospitality. Well, what a time to be alive, y’all! No more excuses! COVID-19 and health officials everywhere are forcing us to slow down and create space in our lives. I urge you to use that space to recalibrate, and then fill it with hospitality.
Hear me on this, though. Hospitality is not a to-do list. Don’t add it just to check it off. Hospitality is about how you see the people around you. Long story short, hospitality is a heart issue, not a time issue. Ok, have I lost you? If that seems overwhelming or counter intuitive, stick with me.
Think of hospitality as cultivating a garden.
- Pull Your Weeds – Center your heart on Christ, and remove your obstacles.
- Plant the Seed – Welcome someone into your space.
- Water it! – Continue to let others disrupt what you think your life should look like.
Start with a simple, but intense prayer.
First, tell Jesus what you are thankful for today. I always recenter with gratitude. I’m still amazed at what this simple practice can do for my spirit.
Second, ask him to allow you to see others as he sees them. I know, I told you it was a doozy. This isn’t a prayer for the faint of heart, but it will rock your world in the best of ways. It’s kind of like praying for patience. Everyone tells you not to, but you know you probably should. You actually don’t want to at all, but after you do, MAN, AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU DID?!
I guarantee that in these unique and wild days to come, someone will need your help. They may not even ask for it, but just pop into your mind. Don’t overthink it. Just get out there and love the best way you know how.
It’s going to feel weird. Don’t let that stop you.
Share your toilet paper. Run someone’s errands. Buy the new parents more diapers. Sanitize mailbox handles. Make activity boxes for the single mom with three kids down the street. Buy your elderly neighbor kitty litter, even if you hate cats. Plant those seeds!
There will come a time when it’s not convenient.
You just went to the store yesterday, and you don’t want to go back. Is taking him that medicine really practicing social distancing? You don’t think that brand of cat food is really “essential”. You’d rather be early to that appointment. Your bank account is looking low. No one has said the word Corona in 3 months and you’re back to business as usual.
DO IT ANYWAY. Water the seed, my friend. It won’t take root without it. In the words of my first spiritual hero, “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”
God will provide an opportunity for you if you ask him. I promise. Honestly, he’ll likely give you a few, but if you’re itching to get started, consider casting out an open invitation to your community. That could be your workplace, your church, your friends on social media, or your local HOA. This is your chance to get creative!
For an easy example to get your wheels turning, we placed this in our local neighborhood app:
In the midst of this global pandemic of COVID-19, many are taking necessary precautions to protect themselves. If you are (or know of any) elderly or immunocompromised, we would like to help as best we can. If there is something urgent that you are in need of, would you let me know? Those of us who are not high risk would like to care for you (in a safe way) during this time.
GO be the light of the world!