The Neighbor

Posted: November 1, 2015 in TLCC
Tags: , , ,


Sometimes, we don’t want to meet up with our neighbors. Scriptures commands us to love our neighbors. Reading through the parable of the good samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, we find that the real issue is not to ask who we should serve – just serve!

There was a lawyer who asked Jesus a question on the greatest commandment. He followed up with a question  “Who is my neighbor?” This may be a legitimate question to us. Who should we be serving?

The question can be viewed in two ways by looking at the command.

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.

Love (a) your neighbor (b) as yourself.

Let us start with (b) yourself. Is Jesus promoting self-love? He was stating the obvious. We love ourselves. Think about how many times we put our concerns first before anyone else. How do we treat ourselves?

We prioritize ourselves when it comes to a lot of things. Think about your last purchase. We just had a garage sale and it really amazes me that Filipinos would think they are poor. But when there’s a word “sale”, they could find money to buy things. Some items are useful, others are just really in part, vanity. We were able to raise a substantial amount out of the items that other people are no longer using.

That’s what I mean by loving ourselves. We may not say it out loud, but we have the tendency to focus on what pleases us, what concerns us, what makes us comfortable. But it’s not all about us. We are called to Love God. Love our neighbors. So it was just right that the lawyer asked Jesus…”Who is my neighbor?”

He replied with a story. Three men who saw a need. Three responses.

Jesus always has a spot reserved for religious leaders. He mentions two of them in the story of the good samaritan, a priest and a levite. His point is quite simple. We can be “serving God” and miss the whole point of serving. This serves as a warning for us. We who are in church can be so calloused, so immune that we no longer could see the needs of others.

The Priest. People have the tendency to pass the bucket to leaders. Those who work in church. Those who serve on a regular basis. This is real specially with a lot of people even church…

We refuse to act unless we are ordered to do so. But this parable talks about leaders. We can be so focused on the task that we forget the reason why we are leaders in the first place.

The priest SAW and PASSED on the other side. He ignored after he saw the need.

Then comes the Levite. Someone who does temple duties but not as heavy in leading as the priest. He does the same. He saw and passed.

We have to be careful in what culture we teach in church. The people following us tend to copy our habits…both good and bad. Sometimes the attitudes of other people rub on us. We become who we hang out with. Just like the Levite, his leaders are probably calloused (I’m referring to the priest who passed by). He also had the same attitude. Focused on the tasks, forgetting that there is a need right in front of him.

Then came the Samaritan. The unexpected one to help a Jew. He saw the need and acted upon it. He even went beyond. What was the difference?

But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

He was compassionate. Sympathetic concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others. That spelled the difference. But here is the thing, Jesus did not answer according to the line of thinking of the lawyer. He asked…

Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor…?

The question is not who our neighbor is. The question is…are we a good neighbor?

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks. . . . It is a strange fact that Christians and even ministers frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they will allow nothing to disturb them. They think they are doing God a service in this, but actually they are disdaining God’s “crooked yet straight path.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Check your proximity. Look around you. Start with the people closest to you. How are you as a neighbor to…

(a) Family. Do you lead them to the Lord? Does your attitude make them seek Christ? Do you take the initiative knowing that they need Christ as much as you do?

(b) Work/school. Be intentional in being a neighbor. When you hang out with your friends, let them know who Christ is. Is Christ likeness seen in you?

(c) Church. Serve with your heart, not just with your hands. Support one another. Encourage. Send a text. Help out in whatever way you can. Support your local church.

(d) Community. Start projects but more importantly, connect with the people around you. We have the tendency to isolate ourselves with high walls, with just letting others do the work. It’s about time we get our hands dirty.

Embrace Interruptions. Have a heart which seeks another person’s good.
Love your neighbor. Think of who you are as a neighbor, would you be able to say you’re a good neighbor?


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