“A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”- Matthew 22:39-40.
If you heard just the first part of the commercial that says, “And like a good neighbor,” most people would say or sing “State Farm is there.” State Farm’s advertising campaign has centered on State Farm customers who, in moments of crisis, are able to summon their agents out of thin air by singing the famous jingle: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” The advertising is intended to reinforce the idea that State Farm agents, like a good neighbor, are there, whenever and wherever you need them. It makes me ask whether we as believers are also there for people when they are in a crisis, or when they are lonely.
Yes, we should have empathy for other people, but if we want to be a good neighbor, it requires action. Remember the story of the good Samaritan. We rarely consider the Priest and the Levite in this story. They are irrelevant because they made a decision to be uninvolved. Their legacy remains that they were too busy to help. The result is that we don’t waste our time on studying them and learn how to do “nothing.” Instead, we concentrate on the Samaritan because he embodies what it means to be a good neighbor.
To be a good neighbor, we need to open our eyes and see people. Before the Samaritan could help the man in the ditch he had to see him. When Jesus said, “open your eyes and look at the fields” He was talking about people, all kinds of people; neighbors, friends, relatives to name a few. How long has it been since we looked and saw the opportunity to minister to someone in need, to be a good neighbor?
To be a good neighbor means we reach out to those who may be strangers at this time. It also means we may need to repair past relationships. Consider the “one anothers” of Scripture and you will come to the obvious conclusion that God wants us to be all about one another, even if we have “gotten crossways.” The way to do that is to love people. The Samaritan obviously saw the man lying in the ditch and needing help. We may not deal with people who have been robbed, beaten, and left for dead. However, speaking a kind word or taking an interest will help someone who feels robbed by life, beaten up by his circumstances, and lonely.
I pray that this series we are motivated to get involved and serve people. The Samaritan opened his eyes, his heart, and his hands. Like the Samaritan, I hope we take a personal interest in those around us. I also hope that we make an investment in others. The greatest possession you can invest today is in yourself and your time? That is what good neighbors do.
- Loving our neighbors is an extension of our love for God and our love for ourselves. Agree or disagree and why? How easy is it to love your neighbor as yourself?
- What part of the Good Samaritan parable had the biggest impact on you? Why?
- Did God give you an opportunity to love your neighbor this week? If so, what happened? What did you learn from the experience?
- What’s one change you can make in your life to put more love into action?