who is my neighbor?

by Pastor Mark Jordan

neighbor-message

“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'” (Luke 10:29, NIV)

I want to take some time considering neighborliness. We live in a world during a time when it is more connected than ever, yet it seems we are losing touch with people. I vividly remember a time a few years ago when I needed to ask my neighbor a question, and instead of walking the literal 40 feet, I sent him a text message. We both chuckled at the moment, but I think it speaks volumes about how we live. Interestingly, just a short time later, I was 8,000 miles away in China while we were adopting Mia, and sent the same neighbor a text message. It did not matter if I was 40 feet or 8,000 miles, I had the same ability to reach out to a neighbor.

Today’s verse comes in the context of the Parable of the Good Samaritan; you can read the entire thing by clicking here. I think it is feasible to ponder an underlying question posed to Jesus is, at what point am I able to not consider someone my neighbor? As Jesus told the story, he picked a hero (the Samaritan) as someone who would be most likely not be heroic at all, let alone sympathetic. So as the story unfolds, and we see that Jesus’ point is we are to consider anyone to whom we can show mercy and kindness our neighbor. That certainly expands things beyond a zip code, doesn’t it?

You will come into contact will all sorts of people today. People you like, people you love, and people you don’t. Classmates, colleagues, and clients. People above you in the social strata and people below you. People right next door or clear across the globe. When you take Jesus’ definition of a neighbor seriously, how might that change the way you interact with them? Can you be kind to them? Can you show mercy? Well, then he or she is your neighbor.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for coming into the world to show me your way. Forgive me the times I do not see others as my neighbors. Help me to show kindness and mercy to everyone I meet. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.