Well, he and his family went out of town for a few weeks on vacation. Before he left, he asked me if my son and I would take care of his yard. Sure. After all, that’s what neighbors do.
Well, one Saturday while I was mowing his lawn, his mother stopped by to check on things and get the mail. I stopped what I was doing to say hello.
I asked her if she knew when Mark would be home and she asked, “Who’s Mark?”
“Your son, my neighbor.”
“No. His name is Paul.”
“Are you sure? I thought his name was Mark.”
“I think I would know the name of my own son.”
We chatted briefly and she went on her way and I went back to cutting the grass.
The entire time I couldn’t stop thinking that I had been calling my neighbor by the wrong name for the last three years, and he never once corrected me!
“Paul” came home last week and he came over one evening while I was outside barbequing.
We said hello and talked about his trip and stuff like that.
Then I said, “Hey, I’ve got a bone to pick with you!”
“I talked to your mom, and apparently I’ve been calling you by the wrong name for the past three years! Why didn’t you ever correct me?”
“No you haven’t. Well, if you did, I didn’t notice!”
We both got a good laugh out of it.
Then Paul told me something else.
He said he would probably never forget my name or get it wrong, and not because it also happens to be his middle name.
But because of his kids.
Sometime before they left on their trip, his kids asked him if they could pray for me.
When he asked them why, they told him that their Sunday School teacher had taught them about what the Bible says about loving your neighbor, and that they should pray for their neighbor.
So they said, “Dad, can we pray for Scott?”
“Why would you want to pray for Scott?”
“Because our teacher said we should pray for our neighbor and he’s real nice and we want to pray for him.”
“Sure we can, let’s pray for Scott and his family.”
Paul said he was so impressed that his kids would interpret that lesson that way, that he would not soon forget the lesson his children just taught him.
I thought it was pretty cool that my neighbor’s children think I am alright and they would want to pray for me. I always liked them already anyway.
The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Have you prayed for your neighbors lately?
26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
27He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
I probably won't forget my friend's (neighbor's) name again, but just in case, I wrote it on the big message board in our kitchen.