In Luke 10 we find the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus was prompted to teach this lesson by a question from a young lawyer who asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus illustrated the love and selflessness of a “neighbor” through the story of the Good Samaritan.
Several times in Scripture we find that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. I am sure that many of us fail to keep this commandment on a regular basis. We are so often consumed with ourselves, our schedule, our needs, our property, our family, etc. that we don’t even see the people around us.
Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Recently my daughter asked me, “Who is that, Mommy?” as she pointed to our neighbor on the sidewalk. I replied, “That’s our neighbor,” and then explained that a neighbor lives next door to us. Almost immediately I realized that while this definition would do for now, there is much more to a neighbor than just living next door.
Warren Wiersbe said, “My neighbor has less to do with geography and more to do with opportunity.”
You see, it’s not just the people next door, as I told my daughter. It’s everyone around us – those “Divine appointments” that God allows into our lives each day. People that we contact in business, play, and all around us. I wonder how many of these “neighbors” or “opportunities” I have missed because I was so focused on my own agenda?
And yet, while the scope of a neighbor is very broad, I also realized that I must reach the neighbor next door. God gives us opportunities to reach people all around us, but He plopped an easy, obvious “opportuntiy” right out our front doors. It’s not just the people next door, but that’s a great place to start.
Now that the weather is warmer and our kids are meeting play mates in the neighborhood, I am looking forward to building relationships with my neighbors on our new street.