As part of the BELLS* rhythm of life, folk in our Church Family & Neighbourhood Group seek to encourage one another to start the week by asking in prayer, "Lord, who do you want me to eat with? And who do you want me to bless this week?"
As I was journalling this prayer on Monday morning, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a conversation I had with my neighbour across the road the previous Sunday afternoon. My elderly neighbour has had some health problems and was needing to have a CT scan on Wednesday. As I recalled this conversation with him, I sense that this was a person the Spirit was leading me to bless this week.
I continued to journal, asking the Spirit to help me see how I should bless him. I thought that I should be really simple and try and catch him either before his CT Scan or soon after and just ask him how it was, or offer to pray for him. The act of generosity would be in the fact that I would remember his health concerns and be caring enough to follow up with him about it... simple right?
However, as I wrote this down I thought, "I don't actually run into him all that regularly in my daily movements so this might be harder than I think." But God is a generous and gracious God.
I was rushing my kids out the door to get them to Kinder and Day Care. My wife Katie, who runs the day care in our small rural community, had already started work some time earlier and my kids hadn't been entirely co-operative this morning as I sought to get them ready. I was supposed to be working at the Primary School and was already late, and we still hadn’t left the house! As I walked out the door in a bit of a rush with my two girls by my side, ready to walk to the Kinder building, who should be across the road watering his garden?? My neighbour.
I walked across the street with the kids, suddenly not worrying about the fact that we were running late. What was a few minutes being late to Kinder or work anyway?
We stopped in my neighbour's garden and chatted about how he was feeling about his CT Scan which was taking place that day. After quick conversation about the scans, my neighbour chatted to my girls about their day and their plans and they were able to bless him by making him laugh with their funny smiles and quirky remarks. After only a 3 min conversation, I let him know that I have been and will continue to pray for him and his health. He was visibly taken back by the remark and place his hand on my arm and said, "Thank you, Jono."
When the Spirit leads you to do something, and you agree to do it, it's should not be all that surprising to us to find that He goes before us, beside us and behind us, to accomplish his plans and purposes for His glory and His Kingdom.
Rev Jono Ingram - Husband, father, neighbour, community gardener, school chaplain and Pastor at “The Church in the Paddock” (Granite Community Church).
*BELLS is an acronym for missional living from Michael Frost’s book, “Surprise the World” which stands for Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn and Sent.