April 14th, 2021 by Ruan Humphrey
“And Who is my neighbor?”
Two days a week, our trash goes out to the side of the road. On one of those days the recyclable containers are added. Once the cans are out, they are forgotten, even if the big noisy collection truck is heard.
Later in the day, the emptied cans appear near our garage. Who brings them up?
It has to be one of our neighbors.
This started after the homeowners–our parents–were no longer taking morning walks and my father was unable to do yard work. Our father loved working in the yard almost as much as he loved talking to people. The neighbors took notice. We know because they often asked us about their health.
After some time, we figured out the person moving the trash cans was was “Good Neighbor George.”
If you watch his somewhat unsteady gait or speak to him and hear is careful, slightly hesitant enunciation of words, you might conclude that he has or has had some health challenges. He who has some apparent difficulty walking has been taking extra steps to help us.
For the longest time, I thought George did this task just for us, but then it was reported that he has been seen taking care of the trash cans of his neighbors 2 doors down - an older couple.
Jesus was asked this question, “Who is my neighbor?”
The story appears in Luke 10:25-37 where it feels like Jesus was accosted by a lawyer with, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the law?”
He answered, “Love the LORD your GOD with all your heart and with all soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus told him he had answered correctly; but he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus responded by telling him the story of a man who was traveling on business when he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes beat him and left him half dead on the side of the road.
A priest traveling on that same road saw the man and crossed over onto the other side of the road. A Levite, another ordained minister, traveling on that same road, also saw him but crossed the road.
Then a Samaritan who was traveling came near and “took pity on him.” He bandaged his wounds and took him to a motel and paid for his stay.
Now Samaritans and Jews did not socialize. Put yourself in the picture. Imagine that you are the person who was attacked, wounded, and left on the side of the road. Would it matter to you the ethnicity or race of the person who rescued you, possibly saving your life?
Jesus asked the lawyer, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man?”
He replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
A month ago, the 4th Sunday in Lent, Canon Christopher attached a homework assignment to his sermon asking us to think of two neighbors – one we like a lot and another, and to commit to praying for them. I have such great neighbors, I decided that would be easy because some “neighbors” are truly “neighbors”.
A friend, somewhat new to the faith sent the message below regarding something totally unrelated but fitting.
“I’m going out on a limb and make a generalization. It seems to me that people who are truly Christians give themselves unselfishly to others.”
It seems that Christians SERVE others.
“Good neighbor George” serves us. He must have been given a servant’s heart. I don’t know yet if he is an avowed “Christ follower” but he is certainly modeling the behavior of JESUS.Do you have any "good neighbor" stories? Let me know in the comments below.
This week we launch a new series on blessing our neighbors. Never miss a sermon by subscribing to our podcasts.
Want to hear more from Mother Ruan? Check out her article on The Opposite of Fear.