Summary: Loving and Serving God by Loving and Serving our Neighbor
Helping My Neighbor After the Storms
Matthew 22: 34-46
It always warms my heart to see so many people come together and reach out to help others after a disaster, such as the recent hurricanes. Material and monetary donations flowed to relief organizations and churches specifically for victim recovery. Volunteers came out in great numbers to travel great distances or to their immediate neighbors to lend a hand in recovery efforts. Isn’t that a major part of today’s reading?
Jesus said (is saying), “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” Verse 37 AND “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Verse 39.
Note: In most bibles when the LORD is printed in all capital letters, it refers to The LORD God Almighty – God the Father, when it is printed Lord with only the letter L capitalized, it refers to The Lord Jesus Christ – God the Son.
What so often troubles my heart in these disaster recovery situations is that the extended love and outreach subsides very quickly. Right here on the street where I live, neighbors were out walking, introducing themselves and checking on the welfare of neighbors. We did not have power for over a week. As soon as the power was restored, very few neighbors could be seen anywhere except in their comings and goings.
There are elderly people, handicapped people and others who are incapable of clearing debris and cleaning up after the storm. I did not see a single neighbor out helping another, not one. The indication is that too often, Christian living is compartmentalized. Huh? Well, Scripture is read or preached, and the message is there but it appears to be a pick and choose what is meaningful and what is taken to heart for daily living.
Our practice is to ask God to bless and anoint His message, its delivery, its reception and MOST OF ALL its application in our lives. Certainly, He will, IF we are receptive to the entirety of His Word.
Long after the storms, there is no reason whatsoever to cease loving and serving God nor our neighbors. Could it be that they don’t appreciate it; why, they don’t even thank us. Now that kind of sounds like how Jesus was received as He ministered to His neighbors doesn’t it. “Yes, but our friends and acquaintances mock us and poke fun at us for doing for those lazy, unappreciative folks!” Who does that sound like?
He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. Proverbs 14:21
My personal experience in the joy and satisfaction that blessing others gives bears out the old sermon message – “If you want to be blessed, bless someone else!” Want an even bigger blessing, bless someone else with as much anonymity as you can. Develop a habit of serving others. Would you like a good biblical example? Read on:
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed,[j] he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:30-37
Little things can mean a lot to others whether they express gratitude or not. Have you ever noticed driving down your street that when one neighbor mows the lawn, he is very meticulous about stopping at the property line rather than mowing on over three more feet to the neighbor’s driveway? On garbage pick-up day, after the trucks have been some leave the empty containers at the curb for days. Why wouldn’t one neighbor go ahead and carry the container up for the other?
Little things show our love for our neighbor as for ourselves! We need not and should not wait for the storm to express our love for God and our neighbor.