I may own the most popular dog in the neighborhood.  Two weeks ago I got a little Patterdale Terrier named Sam.  He’s adorable, but super energetic, so we’re often out in the neighborhood walking or in my backyard playing.  In the two weeks I’ve had him, I may have met and had a conversation with every kid, their parents or grandparents in my neighborhood as they meet and play with Sam.  There are two kids down the street who literally have been stopped by their aunt from ringing my doorbell to say, “Can Sam come out to play?”

I’ve had the joy of learning about Peru from my neighbors down the street and increasing my Arabic vocabulary and phrases from the Palestinian kids at the other end of the block.  Another neighbor shared a heartbreak and struggle she’s been going through as she pets Sam and gave him attention.  Having Sam as a part of my family now has afforded me unique opportunities to talk with and get to know my neighbors in a way that I haven’t before.

These opportunities remind me of Ephesians 5:15-16.  Paul is speaking in the context of living as children of the light and avoiding the deeds of darkness when he says, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.”  Having such a friendly, fun and outgoing dog has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with so many people in my neighborhood; adults and children alike.  Sam’s been dubbed by a co-worker as a “missional dog,” and in a way, I really do see him that way.

Sam has allowed me to make the most of the opportunity to meet, interact and get to know my neighbors.  My prayer is that as I interact with and get to know my neighbors, God gives me the opportunity to share his light and his love with them.

  • What opportunities can you make the most of in your life?
  • What has God given you that can be used as a tool to build relationships in your community and share the light and the love of Christ with those around you?
  • Can you take your kids more often to a park in your neighborhood so you have the opportunity to meet and interact with your neighbors?
  • Are you willing to spend more time outside doing yard work or working on a house project so that you actually see your neighbors and can talk to them?
  • Do you have the opportunity to visit the same café or coffee shop regularly in order to build relationships and get to know the staff there?

The opportunities that God has given us to show his light and his love are unique for each of us.  My prayer is that God enables us to make the most of each of these unique opportunities for his glory and so that others come to know him.

Karen Jacobsen is the Director of both Children’s Ministry and Refuge 686, our foster and adoptive care ministry.  She recently adopted a 14-month, 14 lbs Patterdale terrier.