“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it? ” So he answered and said, “‘you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.””
Luke 10:25-37 NKJV
Who is your neighbor? One definition of neighbor reads: Any person in need of one’s help or kindness. In our world there are so many who fall into that category; we could be referring to the homeless, the orphan, the widow, the neglected, the single parent, or the poor. At Cities4Life, we often use this analogy to refer to one of our most forgotten and neglected neighbors, the unborn baby in the womb who is headed for destruction at an abortion clinic. Jesus commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves. And in the verses above you see several examples of how that plays out.
Now hopefully you wouldn’t classify yourself as the thieves who rob and wound the man and leave him for dead. And hopefully you don’t fall into the category of the priest or Levite who when seeing your neighbor wounded and in need pass by on the other side of the road and ignore the man in need.
Could you be the Samaritan? Have compassion on your neighbor, clean and bandage his wounds and help him out of the ditch, whatever situation that may be. Help provide for his needs until he is stable and on his feet again. Take him to a safe place that is capable of tending to his wounds and helping him heal.
Maybe you’re a donkey? That may sound silly, but even the animal had a tremendous role in this parable. The donkey had the task of transporting the broken and wounded neighbor from the ditch to the inn, where he was able to be cared for and have his needs met long term.
Maybe you’re the innkeeper? Providing housing, nourishment, and care for your neighbor until he regains his strength, is on his feet and can care for himself. Above all you can take time to disciple and minister the Gospel to your neighbor in their time of distress, pointing them to Jesus as you love and care for their needs.
Being a good neighbor is showing mercy to those in need. Whether that is a single mom in need of food for her family, maybe it’s a mom or dad who needs a reliable job, maybe it’s a struggling family who needs material goods to clothe their quickly growing children. Maybe it’s a young, pregnant teen who got kicked out because she refused abortion, and needs a place to stay and someone to walk her through this difficult time. Whatever the situation is, we are called as the body of Christ to step in and fill that role.
What does that look like for you and your family? It’s not the same for everyone, but we are all called to do something. Maybe you’re not sure what it looks like for you, I pray that you’ll take some time and ask the Lord where He would have you serve your neighbor. It may not be in the fight to end abortion. It may be at a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, as a foster family, or adoptive family. You don’t have to go overseas to be the hands and feet of Jesus, there are plenty of opportunities in your own backyard!
“Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” 1 Timothy 6:18-19.
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