One of the most desired features when finding the perfect home is a front porch. We like them because we can sit outdoors on a beautiful day and feel the breeze. We can sit in our rockers and watch the sunset. We can let the children be free to pretend and play. We can even do like I used to do with my grandma, take a seat on buckets, and play cards on an overturned milk crate. She always won, but it was a wonderful memory to create.
The greatest gift that hides within the columns of a front porch is the ability to take notice of the needs within an eye view of your front door. We can welcome the neighborhood kids trying to raise money for their little league baseball team or the newlywed across the street who wants to borrow some flour to make her true love’s favorite dish. And of course, for talking to that friend who just stopped by for some iced tea and encouragement.
A front porch is a place where the opportunity to serve abounds.
Jesus replied:” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)
On the front porch, we are facing away from our own needs and can be attentive to the needs of others.
We don’t have to have an actual front porch to experience this type of neighborly love. It can be something as simple as paying attention to others while in the grocery store. Smile. Say hello. Don’t keep your focus on your own cart and your own shopping list. The front porch is simply a state of mind that isn’t inwardly focused but instead focuses on the people around us.
Develop a “Generous Eye”
Solomon said, “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). I like to think of a generous eye as being like the eyes of God, which “run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chronicles 16:9). When I go into public places, I intentionally look for wounded sheep—and, believe me, they are there.
Whenever you see a person in need, be direct. Walk straight up to the wounded sheep and see what she needs and what you can do. Don’t hope someone else comes along. Don’t run looking for the pastor. God has allowed you to find this person in need. Now, allow your heart to overflow with care.
Be bold and give to the people God places in your path. If, however, you find yourself avoiding a particular person, ask God to show you why. Sin in our hearts—hearts meant to overflow with care for others—keeps us from being confident in our relationships. So, find out what’s going on—or not going on—in your heart that hinders your ministry. Then go a step further and decide what you will say the next time you see that person. Actively search for him or her and give the warm, friendly greeting you planned. With a heart clean before God, you should have nothing to hide, nothing to withhold. Learn to reach out to the people you meet up with every day.
What better time is there to be on the lookout for those in need than during the holiday season? Recognize front porch moments like the young girl ahead of you in line who is $0.35 short of paying for her groceries. Is that any different than a neighbor asking for flour? No. The world is our front porch. It is up to us as to how we use it.
Father, help me accept where I am now and see the blessings and opportunities that are right here. Open my eyes to find the front porch moments You're providing. May I embrace what You’re doing in my life so I can share with others the wonders of Your great purposes. Amen.
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The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Prov. 11:25