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Friday, October 28, 2011

Preaching the Parable of the Good Samaritan pt. 5

As Christians and Americans, it's out of character for us to ask for help. But it seems like that's what Jesus was teaching in Luke 10. When he was asked to interpret the command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." He came back with the story of the Good Samaritan. The key thing is that the Samaritan is the neighbor to the person who was robbed. So the question posed, "Who is my neighbor?" gets answered with the Samaritan. Essentially, Jesus is saying that loving your neighbor means being willing to be weak and receive help from them. Which shouldn't be surprising since he sent out his disciples without shoes, coats or wallets to beg and preach.

The question that remains, then, is how we can show love to our neighbors the way that Jesus teaches. What real, practical things can we do to love our neighbors?

  • Ask for help when you need it. If you're like me, you often try to do something on your own when it would be much faster and easier to just get some help. Knock on a door or ask someone passing by to help you carry in your groceries. Have a work day where you invite your neighbors to help plant your garden. Find out who's a mechanic on your block and ask them to help you change your oil. 
  • Let other people be the expert. When a church is planning activities, they usually decide what they think the neighborhood want, so there are a lot of harvest parties in October, for example. What if we invited the neighbors to a planning session and asked them what they want to do? What if we asked them to help set up and tear down? What if we delegated responsibility to them (for their party)? 
  • Support local charities. Your church can't do everything. But good is still being done in your neighborhood. Find the local charities that are doing things that you can't do right now. Maybe there's a homeless shelter in your neighborhood and you don't have the resources to run one yourself. Support what they're doing, help them with volunteers and even money. Don't worry about whether people are coming to your church, worry about whether or not they're getting the help they need. 
What other ways could we show neighbor-love like Jesus taught? 

You can catch up on the previous posts here: 1, 2, 3 and 4.

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