Who is our neighbor? Is our neighbor the person that lives next door to us or is neighbor more of a universal term? Jesus was asked this question in Luke 10:25-37. In this passage, we learn about the Good Samaritan and his encounter with a “certain man.” The man, who remains unnamed, was attacked by thieves and left for dead. A Priest and Levite seeing this man in a deplorable position chose to go to the other side without offering assistance. The Good Samaritan had compassion for this certain man: picked him up, cleaned his wounds, and took this man to an inn to recover. The Good Samaritan covered this man’s entire expenses as he recovered from his injuries. How do we choose to respond to those who are wounded and hurting? Do we lend a hand or do we avoid their gaze?
What do your neighbors look like? The beggar that is out of work and looking for a warm meal. The person battling a terminal illness and needing a hug to continue to fight. The child that is alone without parental support, but desiring a family. The person that is confronted by crisis and feels that their world has ended, yet needs a reminder of hope. These individuals are our neighbors and we are faced with a daily decision to respond with favor or contempt. It is easy to turn a blind eye to painful conditions and to reason that the matter “Doesn’t concern us.” It is easy to focus on ourselves, making sure that we are adequately cared for. God calls us to do the challenging things—things that show His love and bless others.
Daily, we encounter those that are hungry, homeless, lonely, ill, or afraid. When we take time to serve them, we are doing work unto the Lord. However, when we neglect their needs, we are also negligent in serving and this is unto the Lord too. We each have a decision to make: To serve our neighbors or to ignore our neighbors. What opportunities are available for you to serve your neighbors?