Loving People is sometimes hard. “People” is such a general description. Who are the people “specifically” that we are to love?
That’s not an easy answer. It is certainly the people that we are closest to like our family, our friends, and our co-workers. But it’s also the people we meet while we are on our way to places and things.
Who do we pay attention to?
A religious leader asked Jesus the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus shared the following.
Luke 10:30–37 says,
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.”
Identifying Your Neighbor
The questions we have to think through when thinking about how to be a neighbor are:
- Who are the people that I would rather avoid because they will distract me from my tasks?
- How can I be aware of the people who might have needs?
- What does it mean for me to “see” and “take care of” the people I come across?
- It may be inconvenient and even expensive, but how might God use me to use my time and resources to care for others?
A few weeks ago I was walking into Walmart. I noticed an older man who was obviously struggling with a large item that barely fit into his shopping cart. His was walking slowly, with a limp, and out of breath. And he wasn’t even to his vehicle yet. My head and my heart immediately said, “help him.” For some reason, my body wasn’t listening to my head and my heart. Another man literally ran across the parking lot saying, “Please, let me help you.”
It was a missed opportunity to care. It happens more often than I want it to. Maybe you can relate? Sure, my stories aren’t as dramatic as the story of the Good Samaritan, but they are real. What are the real stories of possibility and missed opportunity in your life?
Father, help me to love people as you do. You stopped for me. Show me how to stop for others.