"Neighbors Helping Neighbors" - Pastor Eric Brown
The flyer on my doorstep read “Neighbors helping neighbors.” As I looked upon the flyer I thought “what an insightful tag line for a Neighborhood Watch Meeting!” When you stop and think about it, the power behind neighborhood watch groups is just that …neighbors helping neighbors. While this motto is new to the flyer, the principle of having your neighbor’s back is nothing new. In fact, it is a principle taught by Jesus Himself. But He did not limit it to only those who live on your street; Jesus applied it to all those in need.
In Luke 10: 25-37, a lawyer tried to test Jesus by asking Him how to have eternal life. Jesus responded by asking this man what the Law of Moses said. The lawyer replied by saying “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself (v. 27). Jesus responded by saying “you have answered correctly; do this and you will live” (v. 28). However, the lawyer realized that he had failed in the true living out of his conclusion, so in order to justify himself, he asked “who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered his question by telling a story of a Jewish man who was robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the side of a road. While this man laid half dead on the side of the road, two Jewish religious leaders walk right on by without stopping. But a third man, a Samaritan, normally a foe of the Jews, had compassion on this man and stopped to help. He bandaged up his wounds and took him to an inn where he could be cared for. At the end of the story, Jesus simply asked this lawyer, “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robber’s hands?” The lawyer admitted it had to be the Samaritan who had shown mercy. Jesus responded to him by simply saying “Go and do the same” (v. 37).
If you are like me, when I read this account of Jesus’s conversation with the lawyer, I realize that like the lawyer, I have failed to perfectly live out God’s command to love my neighbor. This truth of my failure drives me to Jesus for forgiveness and help. We need God’s help to love others like we should. It is the outworking of His love in our hearts that we are to share to all those around us. As we have seen in this account, loving my neighbor is not only demonstrated in not doing harm to my neighbor, but it is also seen in the selfless acts of mercy towards those in need. How much healthier would our neighborhoods be if we committed ourselves to truly loving our neighbors? Neighbors helping neighbors…what a great concept!
HOW TO PRAY:
Pray for your actual neighbors who live next door and across the street from you. (If you don’t know their names, make it your quest this week to learn their names.)
Pray that God would show you what it means to love your neighborhood (including the neighbors who drive you crazy sometimes!)
Luke 10:25-37 “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He 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.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’”
About the Author: Pastor Eric Brown has served as Pastor at First Missionary Baptist Church of Bellflower for over 15 years. Eric and his wife Sandra have been married for 32 years and have lived in Bellflower since 2003.