Summary: I had no idea that my neighbor Matt was out of work. There was nothing to let me know that he could use a friend and a day out in a boat. I had no idea they just recently became parents again to another little girl. Is a neighbor the person living next to
Boating Season has begun
Well I know that some of you heard some of this sermon before but you may not have heard me make the same conclusions. As the title suggests you are going to hear another fascinating adventure about me and my boat. This time it involves a lesson about who is your neighbor and who are your friends.
I have lived across the street from Matt and his family for about five years. They are a younger couple in their twenties with two little girls, one of them just three months old. I meet them briefly when they moved in and I have invited them to church on one occasion but for the most part we have kept to ourselves. In todays scripture Jesus is talking to a lawyer who puts Jesus to the test about living Gods law as it relates to our neighbors.
It seems it was not enough for the lawyer to be right about the first question he put to Jesus but he had to take it a step further. What is it about lawyers anyway? Clearly Jesus saw what was coming and was not taken by surprise.
I had no idea that my neighbor Matt was out of work recently. There was nothing that indicated that to me. He had been cleaning up his yard just like I was. He was coming and going just like I had been. There was nothing to let me know that he could use a friend and a day out in a boat. I had no idea they just recently became parents again to another little girl.
Much like todays scripture about the man who gets beat up, my little boat is very much in the same condition. It is not much to look at and it too has seen better days but it sometimes will get you from point A to point B. Just like our victim in todays passage each journey holds its own unique challenges.
Jesus told this story to the lawyer to make a distinction about just who is your neighbor in life. Even though the lawyer had correctly repeated the rule of the Ten Commandments Jesus felt that the lawyer was missing the spirit of the law or essence of the message in this truth. In fact the lawyer was trying to put a finer point on things. The lawyer was trying to justify himself about who should be recognized as a neighbor. Is a neighbor the person living next to you or is a neighbor more than that?
Well Friday was a beautiful day and I had been working on the house and yard all week cleaning things up. I figured it was time to reward myself with a day out in the boat and maybe a day out fishing if it wasnt too early to try.
My co-workers know about my little boat and some have even shared in my experiences and still they willingly accept an invitation to test fate with me by venturing out on the water. This says a lot about their lives. Either they are really bored and need a little danger in their lives or they really have nothing else to do. Maybe they really do enjoy sharing the experience and building a friendship with me around this vessel I call a boat.
My friend from work is also a younger man in his early thirties with a couple of kids, a wife a mortgage and a car that often needs repair. He too needed a day away from his daily problems and it seems he enjoys discovering new ones with me while boating.
In the lesson that Jesus puts forward he gives us a look at four kinds of people. We hear of robbers, a Priest, a Levite or Church person and a Samaritan or some one from the big city. You could fill in your own version of characters for yourself based on todays society. You could say the robbers were robbers that has not changed in 2000 years, the Priest was a Minister or Pastor and the Levite was an Elder or member of a local church and that the Samaritan was one of those young people with body piercing that you sometimes see.
The lesson that Jesus puts forward is meant to be a kind of law case for the lawyer. It is meant to be a familiar set of circumstances and not a difficult case to solve. The facts are clear enough but somehow the outcome is not what the lawyer had expected. In this case we are not to decide who did the wrong thing but we are to determine who did the right thing. That is often contrary to what lawyers look for.
It is easy enough for us to love one another here in the church. We all believe the same thing we are all living for the same thing, we are all hoping for the same thing. But the rest of the world; the other 90 percent that we meet in our daily lives do not necessarily share our world view.