Who is my neighbor? That’s the question a lawyer asked Jesus after summing up all of the law into two ideas: Love God and love your neighbor. (Luke 10:25-37)
When I read that story, I stop there and also ask, Who is my neighbor? There’s the people who live on my street – the family with a cat named Miss Kitty, the couple that got married in a field last fall, the new couple that moved in recently. But what about the people who don’t live on my street? Guilford County Schools serves students from 140 countries, speaking 120 languages. Are they my neighbors? The Triad area receives about 700 new refugees every year, NC’s largest and most diverse refugee population. Are they my neighbors? An estimated 949 individuals, 201 being children, experience homelessness in our county on any given night. Are they my neighbors? Who is my neighbor?
Here’s the thing: Jesus never really answers the lawyer’s question. Instead, he shares the story of a man who gets beat up, several men who actively ignore him, and one man who thoughtfully cares for him. After the story, Jesus asks the lawyer, “Who proved to be a neighbor to this man?” “The one who showed him mercy,” replied the lawyer. Instead of telling the lawyer who his neighbor was, Jesus showed him what it means to be a neighbor. It means feeling compassion, sharing possessions, caring for wounds, being generous, and taking care of one another.
This October, through Dare2Share, we have an opportunity to be good neighbors to some special members of our community, specifically the homeless and refugees in our area. When these 500 or so people come to our church home on October 31st, let’s be the kind of neighbor that Jesus described. Let’s share our possessions, let’s pray for the healing of wounds, let’s be generous with our time, and let’s take care of one another as a way of loving our neighbor as ourselves.