Lisa and I live in an unfinished development 14 miles east of Hudson. The lots are generally 2 acres. There are eight with homes and eight still for sale. One home hasn’t been lived in for 2 years. Even though we were the first family to move in six years ago, we don’t know our neighbors very well. It seems that Lisa and I have always struggled with that. Part of the problem in our own neighborhood (and maybe in yours) is that our neighbors (and us) are gone a lot. Many are leaving for work at 6 am. Most of the time when I return from house church after 9 pm, the lights are off in nearly every home. People in our neighborhood are busy living their lives…and neighbors just don’t know each other so much.
So the lawyer in Luke 10:29 wants to know: “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus begins to tell a story that is one of the most loved in the gospels. “There was a man who 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.”
What if Jesus would have ended the story there? Something that I think we often miss when we talk about neighbors is that a neighbor is not necessarily a person who lives next door to us. A neighbor doesn’t even have to be in the same county! A neighbor might be anyone who is in need, whether we know them or not. A neighbor might be a person in difficult circumstances, or life threatening circumstances or one just a little “worse off” than you or me.
When it comes right down to it, we have a lot of neighbors.
I want to encourage you today to think beyond yourself to all the neighbors around you in the world who are in need. Individuals you may know or have read about, groups of people, categories of people…just meditate on all the neighbors we have…and think about which ones you are most passionate about. Pray for them today and tune in tomorrow as we work through the parable of the Good Samaritan.