When thinking about reaching our neighbors, my mind immediately went to the passage with the dialogue between Jesus and a lawyer. In Luke 10:25-28 we see that:
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
The author lets us know from the beginning of the conversation that the lawyer’s motives were impure. He wanted to see if he knew more than Jesus. Jesus asks and listens. I love that. Instead of just giving the answer, he affirms the lawyer and makes him feel heard.
Unsatisfied the lawyer prods a little more in verse 29:
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Then, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus could have said, the people in the houses on either side of you, but don’t worry you don’t have to go as far as the cul de sac. Or, He could have said, you’re in apartment 2b, ok then 2a and 2c are your only neighbors.
Instead he chose to share that anyone needing mercy is our neighbor. Did you catch that at the end of the story?
your math teacher that feels hopeless because she is going through a messy divorce is your neighbor.
your coach that laughs at the idea of God is your neighbor.
the homeless and hungry are your neighbors.
widows and orphans are your neighbors.
the international student far from home refilling your drink at the restaurant is your neighbor.
your literal next door neighbor is your neighbor.
the list doesn’t end.
Can you imagine the revival that would sweep this nation if as believers we saw everyone in need of mercy as our neighbors? Let us all pray today for eyes to see everyone, all of our neighbors, as Christ did…with compassion and love. - Amy