Loving Our Neighbor
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)
Three commercials in a row focused on the needs of people in particular circumstances. Reminder viewers that for $19 a month; less than .30 cents per day they could help heal, rescue, and feed those in need. As the last commercial ended, I realized I hadn’t really paid close attention to the first two. I was busy concentrating on other things. I’d seen them before, and I was sure they’d play again so I turned my attention back to what I was doing.
It’s so easy to become numb to the needs of others. So easy to become consumed with our own needs we subconsciously tune out the needs of others. We see so many pleas each day or throughout the week after a while they don’t tug at our heartstrings; they don’t do much of anything.
In the Gospel of Matthew (14:1-21) we read about the time Jesus had gone to a solitary place to be alone. He wanted some private space to grieve the death of his cousin John the Baptist. But when the crowds presented themselves, he put his grief aside and had compassion on them and healed their sick. He stopped what he was doing to attend to the needs of those in front of him even though if he hadn’t, he’d see them again at some point.
We have limited incomes; only so much to go around. We can’t possibly respond to every need we see. We don’t have the healing power of Jesus after all; we can’t bring healing to every situation or change every circumstance, nor the riches of King Solomon. We’re just ordinary people without extraordinary means.
Jesus gave a new command: to love our neighbor. It is the only way others will know we are true disciples of Jesus Christ. Words and thoughts and emotions must be accompanied by actions. Loving our neighbor—whether near or far—will require us to respond to something, to someone’s need in whatever way is within our power or means to do so. Compassion leads us to respond and responding to the needs of others makes love real and fulfills the command of the Lord.
Jesus, I don’t take your command to love my neighbor, lightly. Show me the ways I can do this so others will know I am your disciple. Amen
How are you obeying Jesus’ command to love your neighbor?
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