Serving Those Who Are In Crisis

“Being a Neighbor”

Jesus commands us to love our neighbor. One of the best ways to do this is by serving a neighbor who is in distress. But who is our neighbor? That is the question a lawyer asked in the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus turned the question from “who is my neighbor” to “who proved to be a neighbor” – in other words, “who acted as a neighbor?” The lawyer had to concede that it was the one who helped the injured man, not the “religious” men who passed by.

The lawyer may have been trying to find a loophole, that is, a means of identifying those he would not be required to love. But in Jesus’ view, “who is my neighbor” is not the important question. The injured man showed up in the Good Samaritan’s life, and he chose to be a neighbor – to a stranger who likely was of a different race than he.

Obviously we are not required to help every needy person who shows up in our life. Consideration of safety, more pressing priorities and other factors may say “not this time” to us. Our decision should be guided by common sense and God’s direction. But we are not to center on the definition of “neighbor” in an attempt to avoid serving another. Are you watching for opportunities to be a neighbor to a needy person?