Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Some of you will recognize that line, “Won’t you be my neighbor”, instantly. It will bring about the vision of a kindly man entering his average home to take you on an adventure in is his neighborhood and following a trolley to the land of make believe. In case you have not figured it out, it is part of the theme song to Mr. Roger’s.
In Luke 10:36-37, Jesus asks the expert of religious law, “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” In verse 37 the expert of religious law responds, “The one who showed him mercy” The Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” This is a very matter-of-fact explanation of being a neighbor. There is no indicator of proximity of living abodes, it is about the interaction between two people. Back in Matthew 22 the disciples asked what the greatest commandment in the Law was. Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments.”
I have to tell you. This is becoming one of my favorite exchanges in the Bible. Jesus recognizes that as humans, sometimes we need things simplified. Look at the parables he taught and the element of the passage from Matthew 22. Not exactly rocket science. Love God, Love your Neighbor…everything else falls into place so that you are in the Law.
Now the hard part. Application of this simple truth. Jump to I John 4:20, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” Stings a little right? I am guilty of not loving my neighbor as I should. Sometimes my feet are not beautiful like the messenger who brings good news. Own it, you have been there too.
How do we love our neighbor? How do we love the unlovely? How do we show mercy to those we encounter. Loving others and loving God go hand-in-hand. The bible does not direct us to lock ourselves up in the church and praying, hoping that the lost will be found. Jesus clearly tells us to GO! Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations.” Luke 10:37 “…The Jesus said, “Yes, now GO and do the same.” None of that translates as sit and stay.
Love and faith are verbs. They require action. They require us to GO. We get intimidated in sharing the message of God. I get it. Sometimes I feel this almost overwhelming need to share my testimony and I stop because I am at work. The flesh takes over and in an instant, I have lost the moment. The opportunity is gone forever. Sharing the gospel is a conversation. It is a person telling me they have been sick and me telling them I have been healed and they can be healed too. It is an awkward moment that opens a door to eternity for another. Jesus is knocking on the doors of our hearts pleading us wo reach out to others. Are you willing to ignore him?
I can recognize there are opportunities I will never get back to share God’s love with others. My blog serves as a platform to share the story of my faith. I’m no where near perfect. I stumble, I fall and I seek God’s forgiveness. After these week’s of the “Foot Beautification Project” series at church, I feel a need to expand sharing my testimony.
I have shared more than once I believe God is preparing me for something in ministry. I am not going to do much good if I can’t open my mouth where I am already planted. So that is my challenge and it is your challenge too. Share your testimony. Share the God’s love. Let it be seen in your actions and in your words. Being a light to the lost means we open our mouths and speak.
I will leave you with this quote from Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame. He is an atheist. “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” Think about it! Then share God’s love with someone today!