“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” — Luke 10:27
Look For Opportunities
The well-known “Parable of the Good Samaritan” in Luke 10 teaches that our neighbors are anyone God brings across our path as we journey through life. Our love is not limited by geography, ethnicity or financial status.
Loving Your Neighbor is Not Easy: The ethnic tension between Jews and Samaritans had existed for centuries, resulting in great animosity and blatant prejudices between these peoples. The Samaritan in the parable overcame the social norms and biases of his day to love his neighbor.
Loving Your Neighbor Can be Costly: Loving your neighbor requires a sacrificial spirit and an attitude of sharing. One must embrace the principle of loving people and using things (possessions), not the converse of loving things and using people. The Samaritan used his own possessions and gave of his time to serve his neighbor (v. 34). He made a significant financial commitment (one denarii was a day’s wages for a laborer) and was willing to invest more in the future for the wellbeing of his neighbor (v. 35).
Loving Your Neighbor Can be Risky: The distance from Jerusalem to Jericho is 16 miles. Jerusalem is 2,500 feet above sea level and the elevation at Jericho is 850 feet below sea level. So, travel was dangerous on this mountainous terrain with a drop of 3,400 feet over a relatively short distance. Beyond the geographical challenges, the road connecting Jerusalem and Jericho was frequented by muggers and robbers who would hide in the caves along the way, in order to have the element of surprise to attack victims. The road was so dangerous it became known as the “Way of Blood.”
Short of death or bodily injury, we may risk criticism, rejection and opposition in truly loving our neighbors.
— Jeff Totten, Detroit Tigers chaplain
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