“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” – Romans 12:15
We have these great neighbors who live next door, Matt and Alicia. Mostly we meet up when we are working in the yard. One day recently we returned home from running errands to find Matt in our front yard with a pruning saw cleaning out a yaupon tree that had been damaged by a springtime storm. He didn’t need to do that, of course, except being a much younger man I suppose he thought I could use a strong helping hand. But that’s just the kind of guy Matt is, like the way he takes care of an elderly lady’s yard across the street, mowing, raking leaves, and trimming her shrubs. Maybe she pays him something, although I doubt it. Either way, he certainly doesn’t do it for the money. I try to reciprocate as much as I can by lending him tools or looking after their house when they go out of town. But what impresses me most about Matt is how he ends every conversation we have. “If you ever need help with anything – I mean anything!” he will always say, “please let me know.”
Having Matt as a neighbor has taught me two things. One, we need more Matts in the world, people who help others for no other reason except out of pure goodness. And two, I need to work on becoming more like Matt. The fact is, I really did need help pruning those broken limbs out of that yaupon tree. You see, I had wounded my shoulder recently – nothing serious, but enough to put me temporarily out of commission from using a saw. Matt didn’t know that, though, not until I thanked him for what he had done.
How can any of us get through life if we are not helping one another along the way? Or, as songwriter Richard Gillard expresses so well in The Servant Song: “We are pilgrims on a journey / Fellow travelers on the road / We are here to help each other / Walk the mile and bear the load. . . I will weep when you are weeping / When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you / I will share your joy and sorrow / Till we’ve seen this journey through.”
In other words, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.” It is a sure formula for an abundant life.