My friend, Connie, shared how lonely she was when she first moved to a new town, and how she had a special neighbour who cultivated a warm friendship over the first few months after she arrived. Connie went on to say how one day she shared with her new friend, Mary (not her real name), how she would like to go to church, but she felt awkward going to a new one for the first time.
"Well, you don't have to go alone. You can come with me," Mary replied. "We'd be glad to have you at our church."
The next Sunday, Connie went to church with Mary, and she did appreciate the service and the people she met, yet she was uncomfortable, for this particular church worshipped in a different manner than she had experienced as a child. When she finally shared her thoughts with her friend, Mary replied, "That's okay. I think I know just the church for you. I have friends who worship in that church, and I'll take you there next Sunday and introduce you to them." So for the next Sunday and for a few Sundays after that, Mary took Connie to church. The hymns and familiar style of worship helped Connie feel comfortable, and she has stayed in this church for several years now. Although Mary worships in a different church, they have remained friends and have wonderful fellowship together.
Shortly after Connie shared her story with me, I read the following verse in my Bible:
Proverbs 12:26 – A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. (NIV)
But what struck me more than the words of the verse was the alternate reading in a footnote reference on this verse: "Or A righteous man is a guide to his neighbour." Mary's example demonstrated how she had been a guide to her neighbour, by going out of her way to make sure Connie found a church home where she could worship God.
What a difference we could make to our communities if we, by the way we conducted our lives, were able to be a guide to our neighbours and point them to a place where they could commune with God.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to look for ways to guide our neighbours to You. Amen.