Who is my Neighbor?

Probably one of the best-known parables of Jesus is the story of the Good Samaritan.  You remember I’m sure, but allow me to paraphrase the story for you: a man was traveling and fell among thieves, he was beaten and left for dead.  Now, a preacher came by and saw him, he said ‘hello, nice to see you’ but was late for a meeting so he walked by the other side.  Then a fellow Arkansan came along and saw him, he said ‘How ‘bout them Hogs…Wooo Pigs, Sooie!’ but was in a hurry to get to the Razorback game, so he went by the other side.  Finally, a hip-hop homeboy who happened to be a Muslim rolls up on him… (Now here’s where the story gets strange), he turns down his jam box, gets out of his car with the 20-inch rims and he of ALLpeople is the one who stops to render aid to the fallen man!  Not only that, but he takes him to the hospital ER and uses his own credit card to pay for the man’s medical treatment! – YOU REMEMBER, I said I was paraphrasing the story, right?

The point of the story is to illustrate that being a neighbor is not just saying nice things to people but actually doing what needs to be done in order to help!  Who is my neighbor is a question that is still being asked today in a myriad of different ways and situations that Christians are confronted with daily.  Maybe it’s being asked by the co-worker who is under pressure on the job.  Maybe it’s the classmate who is being bullied at school.  Perhaps it’s a single mom who is at her wit’s end with what to do with her demanding child.  The question’s being asked… but what will our answer be?

One can look at the parable from many different angles.  Some would argue that the preacher was doing some very important work that was for the GREATER GOOD, so you can’t really blame him for passing by!  Others would argue that this was the ‘BIG GAME’ & you can’t reasonably expect one to miss it after all, we all deserve a little R&R in our busy lives, don’t we?  The fascinating thing about this story is that in the end Jesus doesn’t draw a conclusion on the matter He asks each person to contemplate the illustration and He simply says in Luke. 10:37, “… now you go and DO likewise

When we think about ‘growing God’s Kingdom one person at a time’ we must remember that we are truly ambassadors for Christ.  We represent daily what it means to be a Christian and we can do more to influence others to Christ by our actions than by our words!  When we think about it, maybe the question isn’t ‘who is my neighbor?’ but rather ‘AM I THE KIND OF NEIGHBOR I OUGHT TO BE?’

~ John Phillips Jr ~

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