Not on MY Watch

I wrote here about a young pastor who asked himself:  What would it look like if this place was on earth as it is in heaven?  I also wrote that I have a godly neighbor who has been asking that same question and said that I would tell you about him today.

In Colorado you learn that the direction your house faces is a big deal.  You want to be sure your house is facing South, otherwise you struggle with snow and ice in the winter because it stays in the shadows and doesn’t melt.  Well, my apartment building is facing North.  This means that there is an ice rink we have to cross in order to get to our cars, and multiple parking spaces rendered pretty much useless…for months on end, depending on the year and the snow.  Our complex doesn’t promise to do anything about snow…and generally lives up to that promise pretty well.  They will usually get rid of the ice in the parking lot once a year and they generally shovel the walk ways – but the way the walkways are designed it’s minimal help because you still have to walk through the parking lot which is an ice rink to get to your car…if your car is on one side…if it’s in the other direction, there is no shoveled walkway to use anyway…so pretty much—you have to face the ice no matter what.

It’s precarious and I have learned to choose my shoes wisely…even if I carry “cute” shoes to change into when I get to my car.  It’s Colorado—which means that it can be sunny and dry and nice everywhere else (and perfectly safe for fashionable shoes), but outside my apartment, there will be ice in the shade…for months…and really the only safe choice is crampons (ice-climbing footwear—for all you Southern folk).

So one day I see my neighbor outside with shovel and salt busying about in the ice pit.  “Not on my watch!” he says.  He had seen someone fall on the ice.  He explains that it’s unacceptable to him that our home is so dangerous, especially for the pregnant women and the elderly and the children that live around us.

I have heard plenty of neighbors complain about this, complain about the complex management and their neglect to do anything, complain about the dangers, etc.  But all the time the mentality has been that the complex should fix this.  They probably should.  But they don’t.  So my neighbor decided it was up to him.  He took ownership of the problem.  This is his neighborhood.  These are his neighbors that are endangered.  And it’s a problem he can fix.

He bought countless bags of salt (or whatever they use now that’s eco-friendly and helps melt the ice) and spent countless hours spreading it on the ice, breaking up the ice, shoveling it off the path, etc.  He worked hard to make it a safe place for all of us.  Why?  Because he’s a Christian and thinks missionally.  He looked around and saw a problem and fixed it, because if Heaven was here, on earth, in our apartment complex, there would be no ice to endanger us as we walked to our cars.

So what about you?  What would your life look like if Heaven came to earth in your immediate surroundings?  What would change?  If you want to share the love and hope of Jesus with your neighbors, maybe that is a good place to start.


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