I was at a breakfast event recently and the topic of neighbors came into a discussion we were having at the table. Someone mentioned that many people think the Lord’s command “…love thy neighbor as thyself” as found in Leviticus 19:18 means to love those who live next door, across the street, or in the neighborhood. Those people are neighbors too, but I believe a neighbor is anyone we encounter with a need we are able to meet, and that a neighbor is a person who gives of himself to meet the need of another.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus encountered many individuals who presented what we might consider “tough questions”. In Luke 10:25-29, a certain lawyer tested Him with two such questions: the first, “…Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life”; and the second, “…who is my neighbor?” Jesus’ response to the first question was to point the law expert to what he already knew to be true in the law. His response to the lawyer’s second question was through the Parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:30-37 for reference).
In this parable, a man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves. The thieves robbed him, beat him up, and left him for dead. The passage points out three individuals who came by: the first, a priest who saw the wounded man but chose to pass by on the other side; the second, a Levite who looked at the wounded man and passed by just as the priest had; and the third, a Samaritan who had compassion on the wounded man.
The Samaritan dressed the man’s wounds, took him to an inn, and took care of him. Not only did the Samaritan take care of the wounded man, but he also left money with the host to take care of him with a promise to provide for any other necessary expenses incurred.
At the conclusion of the parable, Jesus asked the lawyer who he thought was the man’s neighbor of the three. The lawyer’s answer was the Samaritan, of course. Jesus then said “…Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37).
The Samaritan’s decision to show compassion for the wounded man should serve as an example for all. Doing the neighborly thing sometimes requires doing things for those we do not know. One might ask the question, “How can I love someone I don’t even know?” Well my friend, in the case of this story, love is more of an action than a feeling of intense affection. Loving one’s neighbor means to care for and meet the needs of others.
Are you a person of compassion? Are you genuinely concerned about the suffering of others? If your answer to any of these is ‘yes’, you qualify to become a mercy shower. Showing mercy is something each of us should endeavor to do more. You do not have to possess a strong affection for or attachment to another person in order to show compassion for him or her. You just have to be a willing neighbor. With God’s help, I believe you can be. So I ask you today, “Am I your neighbor?” If your answer is yes, I encourage you to determine daily that you will do the neighborly thing. God bless you!
Author, speaker, musician DEREK E. EURALES, Jr., loves to share his faith, motivation, and music. His book, Principles of Christian Living, has become a “must read” for believers of all ages. To order your copy, click here.