Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for praying with us for our prodigals and revival.
The Bible has a lot to say about our neighbors: who they are, what they’re like, what they need, how they should be treated, etc. But it is also concerned that we are acting like neighbors. The story in Luke ten helps us understand.
A certain expert in the law of God came to Jesus with the intention of tripping Him and asked a very important question, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Since he was a man of the law, Jesus asked him, “What does the law say?” To which he replied, “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.” Jesus said, “Good answer, go and do it and you will live.” The lawyer was offended and wanted to justify himself, revealing his self-righteous heart, and asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus then told the story about the man who got robbed, beaten, and left for dead. The priest didn’t care, the Levite didn’t want to get his hands dirty, but the Samaritan stopped and did what was necessary to help. Jesus then reversed this man’s original question and asked him, “Who was the neighbor to this wounded man?” He responded, “The one who showed him mercy.” Again he got the answer right, and Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise!” This command was like a dagger in the man’s heart. Jesus had seen through his self-righteousness and pride and had gotten right to the heart of what it meant to love your neighbor as yourself.
“To whom can I be a neighbor?” is the question God puts before us. And it is not referring to proximity, geography, citizenship, or race. Everyone in need is our neighbor and this includes everyone we meet—the brother who is discouraged, the sister who needs a job, the prisoner who needs direction, the helpless who need support, and on and on. The real questions are, “Am I being a neighbor to these people? Am I drawing near? Am I reaching out? Am I touching people who need love?” Our Lord left us an example to follow. He reached out to the hurting and His love went out to all.
There’s a story about the preacher D. L. Moody which illustrates the importance of living out this truth. Mr. Moody had come to Indianapolis to attend a convention, but while he was waiting for it to convene, he asked the singer, Ira Sankey, to meet him early one evening at a certain street corner. When they met, Mr. Moody asked him to sing, and soon a crowd gathered. After speaking briefly, Moody invited the crowd into the nearby opera house to listen to him preach. The auditorium filled quickly as the evangelist preached the gospel to the people who drank in the truth. When the delegates began to arrive for the convention, Moody stopped preaching and said, “Now we must close as the brethren of the convention wish to come and to discuss the question, ‘How to Reach the Masses.’” Touche!
May God help us to be people who actually do what He has commanded. May we be aware and willing to be the neighbor that Jesus was when he was here on earth.
Bryan and Rachel
Photo Credit: Benjamin Joyce