Like a Good Neighbor…
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37 NIV)
Over the last year, our family has been intentional in connecting with our neighbors in the neighborhood. We believe that Christians are called to be the best neighbors. Jesus tells us to go out of our way to love, care, and put our neighbors before ourselves. We at SWC even have it as a part of our mission/vision statement to "reach our community… with the love of Jesus.” But, what are we doing to actually see this happen?
In today's culture, this takes initiative. We cannot be idle and expect to follow what Jesus told us to do in loving our neighbors. We can't simply offer a kind wave and think that we are being obedient to this great command.
Loving our neighbor may actually mean that we need to take extra steps to make sure they know we care. We may need to use our resources to reveal to them we care about them in a way that costs. We might even have to go back to check up on them after we've shown them love in the past.
As a brother in Christ and your pastor, I want to encourage and challenge each of us to live out our call to love our neighbor. I believe that over the next year we can reach out to 50 new families with the love of Christ. That's the challenge. To encourage us to do this, we're going to offer a way that can help you break the ice with new people moving into your neighborhood or any neighbor God lays on your heart.
Starting in the middle of this month, we'll be making gifts available for you to take over to welcome a new neighbor on your street or to simply let any neighbor know that you care. While the goal of sharing the love of Jesus with our community will not be fully reached through giving these, it could be a simple gesture of love that may open the door to more connections with those neighbors.
We will be working on putting together travel mugs with SWC info and a gift certificate (for a cup of coffee or ice cream cone) in the cup for these neighbors. If you'd like to know more about these gifts, please see Rachel Daniel or myself. We plan to set these out where we can all access them in order to reach our goal. One way to accomplish this is for each family in our church to commit to handing out one gift to a neighbor. Another way would be to see an average of one gift per week given out. We believe this is an attainable goal. I'm personally praying that God will stir our hearts and prepare those who will be receiving these gifts. Join me and our family by intentionally engaging those neighbors near you to convey that you, our church, and God love them.