While speaking on Neighborhood and Small Groups in Memphis recently, I suggested that people get out and walk their dogs rather than run the treadmill. (Something Randy Frazee shares in his book The Connecting Church.) A gentleman began to laugh and had a question. His question was “What if you don’t have a dog but have turtles?” It was a ‘slow-moving’ loaded question.
Before I could think of an appropriate comment, he began to share how he has become known as “The Turtle Man” throughout his community. He actual raises turtles in his back yard. During the holidays he places turtle statues in the front yard and decorates them. Christmas decorations include lighted turtle scenes. He offers tours of his lawn and chats with neighbors.
Every spring he has an ‘open house’ where kids can pet the turtles and learn about raising turtles as he chats with the parents. Through the conversations he learns about people, his community and is able to share a smile and the “love of Christ.”
In our neighborhood there is a 3-headed dog stuffed animal that makes his/their annual appearance in October. He often moves around the yard at night, posing in a different location by school bus time. Most afternoons there are cars stopping in front of the house to locate the dogs new spot. Kids faces are pressed against the car window hoping to be the first to spot him. Conversations about the 3-headed dog strike up as we walk the neighborhood.
I am not saying you need to raise turtles or move a 3-headed dog around your yard, BUT what is it that God has given you (wired you with) that can be used to build relationships? What is unique about your home, lawn, hobbies or interests that God is wanting to use in your life? Don’t let the holidays pass without an attempt to let God work through you, your home, your hobbies and interests.