I Just Called To Say I Love You
This well-known song by Stevie Wonder says, “I just called to say I love you, I just called to say how much I care. I just called to say I love you. And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”
These words inspire me as I think of how the Apostle Paul, writing to the Church at Philippi (Philippians 1:3-17), told them how much he loved them and commended them for their love for each other. In verse 9 he writes, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more…”
Paul further encouraged the believers in Philippi by reassuring them that the Lord had indeed placed him as a prisoner in the Roman Palace for a reason: to share the “Good News” of the Gospel with “the whole palace guard, and to everyone”.
Paul used “The Art of Neighboring” to get to know his guards, attendants and house servants. He built relationships with them, and was able to share how he saw his situation – “that I am in chains for Christ” “to the glory and praise of God.” He also commended those who, like him, “preach Christ out of love” (Philippians 1:15-16).
Let us practice “The Art of Neighboring” by getting to know our neighbors and building relationships with them. Let’s meet each one, get to know their names and their children’s names. Let’s find out what they like to do for hobbies and what sports teams they follow. We can drop off a plate of homemade cookies or a pie, plan a neighborhood block-party or a cook-out. Let’s get to a place where we know our neighbors well enough to lovingly share the Gospel, “The Good News,” with them.
Paul took each day as an opportunity to get to know his neighbors, and through the relationships he developed was able to share his heart openly – and they knew his heart!
When you think about the City of Philadelphia, you think of “The City of Brotherly LOVE,” right? What if we could have our own city become a village of brotherly love? The Apostle John says it this way, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” It’s a truth we’ve sung so often: “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” I can almost imagine God calling us on our cell phones to encourage us, and saying, “I just called to say,‘I love you!’” How would that make you feel? How about if we get to know our neighbors so well that we can call them up and simply say: “I just called to say I love you, I just called to say how much I care, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”