On one occasion when I found a neighbour needing knee surgery, it was clear to me that this was an opportunity to bring a meal. When I approached this issue, I recalled an instance when people wanted to help, but unknowingly made the scenario more burdensome. For example, when my mother died, people came by to ask if they could bring a meal to our family as we prepared for the funeral. Well-intentioned, to be sure, but it was a relief when one person called to say they were bringing a meal – would we like it Wednesday or Thursday? So when I approached my neighbour who just had knee surgery, I told her that my wife makes a mean lasagna and if it would be better to bring it over on Monday or Tuesday? This approach indicates that I will bring the lasagna, it’s just a matter of when I will bring it. The difference is that I am actively on mission and taking responsibility for the action, as opposed to adding more responsibility to the the one whom I am serving.
It seems odd that the Scriptures are clear about sending us, yet we trade our “going” into an invitation that makes others do the “going.” Therefore, loving our neighbour is not inviting them to a place or program, but it is us going to love them. When we are asked to “go” as disciples, we need to meet those neighbours in their own space, rather than expecting them to come to our space.
So when you go to bless a person, bless them where they are.
When you go to serve a person, serve them where they are.
And when you go to be Christ to a person, do not explain, study or make commentaries on how this all works, just love them unconditionally.