Shining a light in the neighborhood by Sharon Mustain


Stored in my guest bath and dinning room hutch are more than 30 brand new candles I have received from my very loving, gift giving students.  So I ask myself, “What on earth am I going to do with all these candles?”  Two people can only burn so many, and truth be told, more will come my way from my little lovelies this next school year.

While enjoying some time with one of my dearest friends, Jill, I shared the story about the surplus supply of candles.  Jill shared from her heart, “Why don’t you pay it forward to the families in your neighborhood?” That was it!  The light bulb moment! “Brilliant idea, Jilly!”  So that is exactly what I have done this year.  When a new neighbor moves into our community of 153 townhomes, and guess what I bring them?  That’s right, a candle from my collection. 

Recently, when a friend from a nearby block  stopped by my house as she was walking her dog, she shared that she had been laid off.  The next day, I packaged up one of the candles and wrote a note to her reminding her that I care, and I will join her in her prayers as she waits on God to meet her needs.  One of the ladies in Forge Dallas said to me, “Sharon, I think that candle will remind your neighbor that Jesus is a light shining in the darkness of her life, and she will also remember that she has a friend who cares for her!” 

I love what Lance Ford and Brad Briscoe say in their book,  Next Door As I t Is In Heaven:  “They challenge us just to be the neighbors who extend compassion and care, who bring the neighborhood together, to see shared spaces as venues for common grace, and who notice the kingdom of God in our midst.”  

Thank you God for all these beautiful symbols of your love that I can share with those in our community.  A simple, thoughtful, faithful presence that has the power to transform our world one neighbor at a time.  

Sharon Mustain is a missional practitioner and Forge Dallas' First Lady