On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
We have been in our new home for five months now and I have yet to meet a single neighbor. My dad has chatted with the neighbor to my left but I have yet to actually meet her.
In our previous home we knew the people to either side of us and talked with them frequently. We never really got that close to them since we were all at different stages of life and with young kids we were very busy and also very protective of our children.
If this passage was strictly just talking about loving the person who lives beside us, I would be failing.
In this passage, Jesus shows us how everyone is our neighbor, even those we hate. So now, I am not just failing a little bit, I am a horrendous failure at being a neighbor.
It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives and to ignore the lives of those in need around us.
I often use the fact that I have children as an excuse to take it easy with ministering to those in need. But really, I have an excess of opportunities to show God's love and mercy to those struggling around me, I just happen to have my kids there sharing in the experience.
There is no better way to show our children the loving nature of the Father than by showing them his hand moving you to show his love to others.
If we want our kids to see God's love, then we need to be God's love. And they need to be right there with us.
If we want our children to be compassionate, we need to act out God's compassion in front of them. We need to actively show them God working through us, using us to do his works and bring him glory. It is okay for them to see that it is not easy for us, that we don't always want to do it, and that it makes us uncomfortable. It is the best for them to see that it isn't always going to be easy, but that it is worth it in the end.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared forthe devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Friends of our family just went down to Mexico with there two boys. They went there and showed the love of God. They built a home for a family in need, they loved on kids in an orphanage, and they helped out feeding children at a lunch program.
Their family was blessed by going. They saw the love of God and were blessed in being His hands and feet. Their boys were touched, they had an amazing opportunity to see God move and to be used for his works.
What a wonderful thing to do with your family.
Today, I am asking God, "Who is my neighbor? Who should I be showing your love to today and this week? And how can my family be involved together doing your work?"