Growing up one of my neighbors was an elderly man named Bob. He was a crotchety, bitter, old man. The entire time I knew him, from my childhood to adulthood, he never changed. He did not speak any great words of wisdom to me but his life over all the years I knew him taught me some important things. I will call these things lessons I learned from Bob. My first lesson I will share with you was how I learned to love my neighbors.
Bob always smelled of cigarettes because he hand rolled them himself and smoked them all the time. He never had anything nice to say about others. Bob hated all the other neighbors. He shook his fist at them whenever they drove up the driveway. He planted tall trees in the back of his property just to block the view of the neighbor's house. He would even throw rocks at any animal that entered his yard.
Regardless of his demeanor my family loved him. We welcomed this neighbor into our home and our family. My dad would stop by and visit him almost daily. We would also have Bob up for dinner at least once a month and we invited him to my grandmothers every weekend. Many times he joined us. And of course we invited him to church. My dad wasn't the only one who visited him. When I was a child he would play card games with me, give me butter & jelly sandwiches, and buy my homemade "mud pies".
Bob was not the easiest person to befriend. But he needed us. The Bible says, "God sets the lonely in families" (Psalms 68:6) and that's exactly what He did! Whenever I read about the second greatest commandment Jesus gave us which was "to love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39 ), I always think of Bob. It wasn't what he did but what my dad taught us to do that made the greatest impact on me. This is how we take God's Word and apply it!