Periodically, we sell things we are no longer using on Craigslist. It's been nice to send things along on their way to a place where they will most likely be used as opposed to sitting in our garage collecting dust and occupying space that should otherwise belong to my car. Unused exercise equipment, old storm door, baking dish, ironing board and a chandelier we purchased and were unable to return when it didn't fit all found new homes. It was during this process that Craigslist reminded me of something Jesus preached:
Jesus constantly talked of how we are to love others. Our concern for other people needs to be such because Jesus says in Mark 12:31, "Love your neighbor as yourself" In the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, Jesus made the point that our love for people should know no cultural or economic bounds; we are all neighbors.
When we posted things for sale on Craigslist, we always note our city so people can decide if the object is within an acceptable distance for them to come and pick up. One particular time, after emailing our address, the lady we had been corresponding with said that it was indeed close enough and she would be walking over the next afternoon since she happened to live on our street too. The next day while we were cleaning the garage, one of our neighbors almost directly across the street came out of her door, looked around, crossed the street and walked up our driveway laughing since it took a random chance for us to finally meet even though we had lived here for nearly a year. The faceless and nameless person on the internet was, in actuality our neighbor!
Anyone, at anytime, that comes across our paths needs to be treated like they are our neighbor and sometimes, they actually are! We never know why people cross our paths and we can't assume we know their full story. I don't believe in coincidence and I truly believe that God places people in our lives at a particular moment for His purposes.
Like the time Jesus met the woman at the well in Samaria in John 4. Their interaction, like so many that Jesus had with people, changed her life and brought hope to her community. If we are willing, God can likewise use us in mundane interaction with those we come across. We have the humbling responsibility of being Christ to those around us, even those who might never step into a church.
We had another obvious reminder of this too when just a couple weeks ago, it happened a second time with a man down the street purchasing our ironing board. That, and our neighborhood is apparently a hotbed for Craigslisters.