This is an edited, previously published post that for some reason I have been remembering all week–from September 2009–and so looked up to republish as the Lord must have put it on my heart!. We all know my memory is not that great!
Who is my neighbor that I should love as myself?
In Luke 10:25, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. He told it because he was asked how to inherit eternal life by an expert in the Law. Jesus asked him “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The expert 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”. Jesus told him that he had answered correctly and that if he did this, he would live. But the expert wanted to justify himself and so he asked, “who is my neighbor?”
We all know the story of the Samaritan-and how he was the one-different, from another culture, belief, considered “unclean”-who took care of the robbed man on the highway. HE took care of his “neighbor”, vs the priest and the Levite who had passed him by.
So who is MY neighbor? I think it is anyone that God brings into my sphere-by phone, by email, by meeting, by GriefShare, by Bible Study Fellowship. Do I listen to the needs of those people? Maybe they aren’t broken and bruised on the outside–but maybe half dead on the inside? And what do I do with that information? Try to connect, to understand, to share, to help–or do I brush them off because I am in a hurry and scheduled all day?
What does it mean to be the hands and feet of Jesus? I have watched as my church has reached out to those in the world in particular missions–Growing in Grace-where they supply sewing machines to women in a small country in Africa. These are women with children who have been abandoned by their husbands or widowed but are living in desperate poverty. This little bit of care and our continued support by our church women who go at least twice a year to encourage and teach is so wonderful to my heart. There are other places where we are supporting a couple who were formerly on staff at our church, but called to Africa. We have helped with installing a water purification system and now there is savings account where we are raising funds for a large tractor that is needed to plow the fields. Tangible help that makes a difference sometimes in whether someone lives or dies. When you are working for a people like this-they want to know why? Why are you doing this? Helping us? And then is the opportunity of course, to share Jesus and His saving grace.
And we don’t neglect our immediate area-our city that we live in! There are so many incredible areas to serve that people are being first ministered to and then shared with. I think we have adopted an elementary school and a middle school -both of which have the highest incidence of children who come to school not having been fed-not being able to provide the most basic of school classroom needs: tablets of paper, pencils, crayons, backpacks, whatever school supplies are needed. We must fill hundreds of those backpacks with supplies in an assembly line just before school starts so that children will have what they need.
But really what does all this mean to me? I can’t go out on the mission field. I pretty much have to stay in my safe bubble, so that I stay well and not exposed to all those bacteria, virus’, fungi, and whatever else there is out there that likes to come home with people like me. I understand it is my job to stay well-by following the rules, the protocol. I was never any good at that! But that is one of the lessons that the Lord has taught me-over and over-until I finally got it. I have no choice in the matter, but to be obedient.
And our Dear, Wonderful Father rewards that obedience with answering a long time longing in my heart to be out there and go therefore, by giving me a way to go out there and be amongst anyone with any need anywhere in the world. Of course You know I am talking about this new ministry of blogging. I can’t go out, but He brings them in to me. Just the right people to hear what He has to say . With a prepared heart to answer Him–YES!
Just a thought to share and think about. And a lesson, not to forget.