Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers? Luke 10:36.
What does it mean to be a good neighbor. A group of religious folks trying to vindicate their works a group asked Jesus this question in response to His teaching that the second greatest commandment just after loving God we are to love neighbor. The teaching was a story was about a man, a Samaritan, an enemy of the Jews who came upon a Jewish man hurt and left for dead. The Samaritan did everything he could to care for the man. Leading to the question asked by Jesus, who was the good neighbor? Do we have the heart to be a good neighbor?
There is a story about two neighbors. During a fierce storm the flood waters began to rise threatening one of the neighbors homes. He began to fill sandbags trying to turn back the waters and save his home and care for his family. His neighbor came by and spoke compassionately and being a Christian offered a prayer. He then turned to depart leaving with these words, call me if there is anything I can do. As he departed he stepped over three shovels and hundreds of bags to be filled. Did the neighbor know what needed to be done? Certainly! Yet he departed feeling justified because he offered help and he prayed. Would he have passed Jesus’ test for a good neighbor?
Call me if there is anything I can do? I have heard this so many times from God’s people. Certainly there is much work to do for the Kingdom of God, certainly there are many needs but why do God’s people ignore the needs of our neighbors, our ministries, and what our Lord loves. God’s people do so by deceiving themselves with words. We can hide behind words feeling justified, hey I offered but was never called. Scripture is clear that we are to be doers of the word and not just hearers. Jesus said, “This people honors me with their lip but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8).
Maybe we should instead of trying to feel good about our intentions we should feel good about picking up the shovel and doing what needs to be done. God has given us many opportunities amid the current plague to simply do what needs to be done. We should never give over our rights to worship God and hold to our faith but what if we put down the political rhetoric and cultural commentary, stop complaining and simply love our neighbor I am sure we could pass the Jesus test for being a good neighbor.
Oh and about telling someone in need to give you a call, you have been called by God. So pick up that spare shovel and fill a few sand bags.