How To Neighbor

How To Neighbor

DAY 5 OF 10

Always Empty, Always Enough, and Sometimes Crazy

Bobby and Brian’s story from yesterday is crazy-good isn’t it? Bobby’s vulnerability bought him a ticket into Brian’s life. Brian’s forgiveness set Bobby and Phyllis ablaze to help others find the healing they’ve experienced. God wants all of our stories to be crazy-good. Proof: the Bible is full of crazy-good stories. Hebrews 13 basically says we should be hospitable to strangers because they might be angels. It’s not a parable. It’s not a poem. It’s a crazy-practical reminder to show kindness to people who are far from like us. Today it would be titled, 3 Reasons To Love Your Neighbor as Yourself … You Won’t Believe No. 3!

Here’s another crazy story. God’s prophet Elijah showed up as a homeless, begging, stranger to the widow in Zarephath. Elijah had been living off meat from ravens and water from creeks. When they met, the widow was gathering a few sticks to cook the last food she had to feed her starving son. They were both alone and empty. Vulnerably, Elijah asked the woman for water and bread. After admitting she didn’t have enough, she fed him. Then it gets crazy. Scripture says after that there was always enough flour and olive oil left in her containers. What if Elijah was unwilling to ask a poor widow for help? What if the woman allowed her material poverty to keep her from helping Elijah? Both situations would have the same outcome: she would have walked away and cooked her son’s last meal.

How about our crazy-good neighbor story? The Jewish man who the Samaritan crossed the street to help would’ve considered the Samaritan’s race detestable. Racism and other pride-birthed sins like sexism, ageism, and classism, are often the greatest blockades to loving our neighbors as ourselves.

But -isms aren’t the only form of pride. James 4:6 outright states proud people will be opposed by God Himself. Maybe the opposition we face when we think we’re doing good is not always from the enemy? What if helping without humility doesn’t just hurt our neighbor—it hurts us?

It’s so hard to realize our pride. We might offer people help, meals, money, and even prayer but never ask for help ourselves. We might drop off Christmas gifts for a financially struggling family without thinking how the hard-working father feels about not buying them himself. Most of us have thanked God for our home, our health, or maybe our God-fearing family, without realizing the unsaid part of our prayer, “Thank You, God, for not letting be born a homeless, HIV-positive infant who may never hear Your Gospel.” Ouch. Those words aren’t easy to read, or write.

So what then? Should we not help people? What about those angels, though? Should we not thank God for our blessings? We will continue helping others and thanking God. However, we will be like the widow from Zarephath and like the prophet Elijah, who realized their emptiness and helped each other anyway. We won’t let pride or fear of indebtedness keep us from asking for or giving help. We’re all obligated to humbly love one another because our only debt is to God who first loved us. We’ll live out always empty, sometimes crazy stories with always enough of God’s grace.

Today’s step: Be a neighbor and be neighbored. Ask a neighbor to borrow something, ask someone at work for help, or ask someone for prayer. Then, invite a neighbor (or stranger) to a meal, do someone else’s work, or offer spiritual comfort to someone.

Principle Two: We’re all broken in some way.
Poverty is a result of brokenness. Whether we lack material resources, meaningful relationships, purpose, or hope in Christ, we all experience poverty in some way. As we reach out to others hoping to mend brokenness, we know we bring our own brokenness into the mix. When we keep this mindset, we wholeheartedly avoid “us and them” language and behaviors.

About this Plan

How To Neighbor

What if we don’t have to travel far to get close to people who are distant from God? What if Christians were the best neighbors? Would your street change? Would heaven be fuller? A long time ago, a religious leader asked...

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