“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.” Luke 10:27
“And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29
In response to the question about who a neighbor is, Jesus painted a picture of what a neighbor DOES. Neighbors don’t step around the injured person in their path. Neighbors allow themselves to feel compassion. Neighbors come close, look unflinchingly at the wounds of the people around them and invest their resources in doing what is in their power to meet the deep human need in front of them.
2017 is our “Year of the Neighbor.” This the year when we shift our focus from self-preservation to reaching out and making a positive impact in our community. Whether we partner with a school, or reach out to a nearby apartment complex, or start serving a regular community meal in our building for anyone who wants one—whatever God ultimately leads us to do . . . this is the year to stretch, to risk, to see and be moved and come close and touch. This is the year to be surprised by the hidden beauty of our neighborhood, and the wisdom and giftedness of neighbors who have things to teach and share with US.
We each have different gifts and abilities, different time commitments and energy levels. But the one thing each of us can do no matter who we are and where we are is this: PRAY. Pray for God to lead us to the projects and partnerships that God wants us to take on. Pray that God gives us a heart for the vulnerable like never before. Pray that God gives us the courage to be a real neighbor to our neighbors, and to see them for the gifted, beloved brothers and sisters that they are.
Let us love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; let us love our neighbor as ourselves. Let us do this together, and we will live.