If you didn’t make it to church last Sunday, you’re going to want to hear what Neil Kring had to say. I heard it twice, and in both services, I was challenged, I was moved, and I left wondering what God was saying to me.
And if Commonway is your home, then I’m actually asking you to listen. This is important to me, and it’s important to us as a church family as keep asking God what he has for us.
Here’s the link: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR – May 30, 2021
Centuries ago in the Roman Empire, an early church father named Tertullian said this: “It is our care of the helpless, our practice of loving-kindness that brands us in the eyes of our opponents.” It’s not that the Romans didn’t know anything about compassion, but compassion was not connected to the gods. The gods demanded sacrificial offerings, not acts of charity. Jesus said, no, actually, the most important thing is to LOVE God and to LOVE your neighbor as yourself. Jesus even said,
“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’”
The word “learn” in this verse…it’s not like learn or study in a book. It means to go and find out, go and experience first-hand for yourself. This wasn’t some elaborate, complex program. It wasn’t a well-thought-out strategy. It wasn’t a great teaching. It wasn’t a beautiful building that grew the church. It was Christians who took Jesus seriously, who embodied the gospel and lived it out sacrificially.
Has the church always gotten this right? Of course not!
This is not to say that there would be no compassion in the world without Christianity. The church often falls short. And remember the story of the Good Samaritan, it’s the least religious person who shows the greatest compassion.
While everyone else is just standing around scratching their head going, ‘Well, who IS my neighbor,” it’s like Jesus is saying, “Just BE a good neighbor!” It really can be that simple.
And while everybody else is standing around going, “Yeah, but if I do it for them, they’re going to have expectations,” you just go ahead and do it for them and don’t worry about the expectations.
And while everyone else is saying, “Yeah, but what difference is it going to make?” You just decide that you’re going to make a difference in THAT person, THAT family, in THAT situation in THAT moment.
I have one question for you as you think about your neighbors…your literal neighbors, your neighbors at work, and your neighbors on the other side of town.
What can you do to help?
Not: How can I solve all of his problems?
Not: How can I solve all of her issues?
Not: How can I fix this?
When you ask those questions, you’ll talk yourself out of it. So instead…
In this moment, with my resources, with my little bit of time, what can I do to help?
(And then go do it.)