Neighbor, Luke 9-10

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29

The question, “Who is my neighbor/” will lead to one of the most famous of the parables of Jesus. In it, he will reveal the real question is, “To whom can I be a neighbor?” Jesus is the master of the genre of the parable, which is an extended simile used to make a point. It literally means to “cast alongside.” The story of the parable is cast alongside the truth that is being taught. When used correctly, a parable will confront wrongdoing or wrong thinking and reveal truth in a memorable way. It will also hide truth from those who are hardhearted or unwilling to learn. The parable of the Good Samaritan sticks in my head and heart. It reminds me that while I may look for a loophole in the command to love people, there isn’t one. It corrects my wrong thinking. I’m not sure it did so with the expert in the law, but the text tells us that he knew which one was the neighbor. I am a neighbor to all the people God has created—whether someone I see every day and like being around or someone that I never met before. When I am near someone, they are my neighbor. And this does not mean just physically near someone. I can be near to their need or circumstance electronically as well. There may be times when I need to be a neighbor to someone in great need. Love God and love the people He has created. Do this and I will live!!

Dear Lord, I want to live! I want to live the abundant life that you have promised and, it seems to me, one of the best ways to live a full life is to embrace each person you bring in to my path with your love flowing through me. Help me be a good neighbor, willing to serve and extend your love! Amen.