Who is my neighbor?

But the man wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 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. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine…

“…Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” from the book of Luke chapter 10, verses 29 through 37

There are a lot of people outside my door, in pain. My community is not suffering from physical wounds, but spiritual and emotional ones. Without Jesus, they will die. They have been beaten up and left for dead. My friends, my neighbors, need to meet Jesus. They need a Healer. But sadly, I often behave like the priest and the Levite. I have my own agenda, “good” things, that I let crowd out my day. I have somewhere to go, kids to take care of, dinner to make. I don’t have time to get messy or dirty. I am afraid to open my mouth, because it might be awkward or uncomfortable for me.

But serving my community isn’t just about volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating my old clothes to a charity. It’s about stopping when I see pain and addressing it. It’s about meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of my neighbors, in the moment, not when it is convenient.

“Go and do likewise.” These are powerful words. I have spent too much wasted time loving my comfort more than my neighbors. But a new day is here. Jesus has forgiven my selfishness and I have the freedom to live differently today. It is time to go and do likewise.

It is time to forget what is behind and put God first. It is time to make sacrifices. It is time to obey in the moment, when I feel Him prompting. It is time to really love my neighbors. It is time to put others first. It is time to do whatever it takes to share Jesus with every person God puts in my path. The man asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”. I think real question is, “Who is not my neighbor?” Who is not deserving of hearing about Jesus? Who is not in need of new life, of a second chance. Who is emotionally hurting and broken. Who needs to meet Jesus.

Today is a new day. May it begin here.

Jesus, I am sorry for letting my fear and my busyness dictate what I say and what I do. You are too important to not share. I love my friends and my neighbors, and I am sorry for keeping you to myself. You are the answer. You are the Healer. You are the one who brings freedom and redemption to every situation. I want today to be a new day. I want today to look differently than yesterday. Holy Spirit, I need you to change me. To prune off my selfishness and replace it with your compassion for my community. Would you do big things in and through me today.

erikaDiving In is our online mid-week devotional. It jumps into the message from Sunday and takes us a little deeper. Take a moment to slow down from your busy day, and hear from the Holy Spirit. We re-post every Wednesday. You can follow along by clicking the +Follow button in the bottom-right corner of your screen. Diving In is written by Erika Thornton (Pastor Jonathan’s wife). Erika enjoys helping people realize their potential and seeing families live life to the full. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her five kids and painting.