The one across the street and over. You know, the one you see here and there but never really talk to.
You know heís there, you know what his car looks like, you can recognize when he is home and when he is on vacation, but you donít really know him.
Thatís the neighbor I met a few days ago.
We spoke for a brief moment. It wasnít a planned thing, just sort of happened due to a couple of circumstances. I was helping the neighbor across the street get his house ready to rent. So the neighbor across and over and I sort of met up at the neighbor across the streetís house.
We talked about nothing in particular. Then he asked, ďYouíre the tennis pro, right?Ē
I sort of looked at him wondering how to answer. Then I said, ďYea, sometimes.Ē
That was pretty much the middle and the end of our conversation. He did speak a good bit about his job, but, I, honestly, was about 10% into it, maybe 7%, because my mind started racing when he asked about the tennis pro thing.
Do I really want people to know me as the ďtennis proĒ?
Do I really want to be known as my job or hobby or vocation or something I do?
My mind raced to the many things in life the last few decades that have defined me.
Iíve been a son, a brother, a grocery sacker kid, a college student, a Christian tennis academy owner, a football player, a church goer, a grandson, a speaker and on and on.
You get the pic.
My mind started moving into overdrive while this guy was saying something about his job.
During his presentation of sorts, I gurgled something about tennis is a part-time deal for me.
He looked at me and took a breath for a second.
I think he was heavily into helping me understand just exactly who he is by describing his job.
I said, again, yet this time more clearly, that Iím not my job or any one of my many jobs, and that I donít define myself by any of the hats I wear, things I do, people I know.
He is a pretty short older fella, maybe 5í4Ē and 65 years of age.
He looked up at me wondering what I would say next, while Iím sure wondering what I had said.
I told him I do coach tennis to the world class junior and professional tennis players God brings to my Christian missionary and tennis academy, but that is the smallest role I play.
I told him Iím a preacher-type guy that wants to be used by God in any way possible to bring people home to Heaven.
I told him that there is nothing about being inside the sport of tennis which is worth a darn if Iím not consumed daily with my quest to be all that God has for me when He first spoke the universe into existence, that I am not my job and I hope he is not either, and that I am simply working daily to improve myself for what is to come in eternity so I take the good with the bad and let God be God and Iíll just be as He needs me to be.
He stared at me.
I stared back at him.
Then, like most men for eons, we grunted a bit and nodded, and went back to work helping the neighbor.
As we cleaned things and moved things, I was ok with what I said.
Ok, but not satisfied. Next time, Iíll be more prepared, though.
In fact, next time Iíll make sure all of my neighbors already know me.
You see, if I donít know my neighbors and they donít know me, how am I following the Great Commission as commanded by Jesus and recorded by Mathew?
Ok, well, Iíll work on it.
What about you?
Are you your job?
Do you know your neighbors?
Do they know you?
Maybe tomorrow when you walk out your front door, look at the homes across the street to the left or right, or simply to the left or right.
Make a plan to walk on over and say hello.
And be sure to tell them about who you really areÖ