Summary: Wise people relate to their neighbors with helpfulness, peace, justice, and kindness.
Title: Like a Good Neighbor
Text: Proverbs 3:27-35; 4:21
Truth: Wise people relate to their neighbors with helpfulness, peace, justice and kindness.
Aim: To encourage improvement of relationships with others by the practice of Christian virtues.
Life ?: What godly virtues are we to model as Christian neighbors?
Harold Jones was a respected South Carolina football coach in the 1970’s. He put his reputation on the line by extending kindness to an illiterate, mentally challenged young black man. Coach Jones sees him, day after day, pushing a shopping cart filled with simple treasures past the practice field. After his players abuse the poor guy by tying him up and locking him in an equipment shed, Jones becomes more intimately involved in mentoring the boy, who becomes known as Radio (so nicknamed for his passion for radios and Motown music).
Radio lives on the outskirts of town with his loving mother. She describes him as the “same as everybody else, just a bit slower than most.” Coach Jones makes him a team manager. He’s given a place of honor along the sidelines. During home games he whips the crowd up with his contagious enthusiasm. He even begins to attend high school and makes the morning announcements over the PA system.
Some cruel and heartless people mock and try to marginalize Radio rather than understand him or show him compassion. Coach Jones’ loyalty is challenged more than once but he stands his ground. We learn of a time in the coach’s life when he should have helped someone but didn’t. He confesses his regret, but he learned his lesson.
The movie Radio is based on a true story. In the end this coach’s example of helpfulness and kindness changes a whole community in the way they treat people that usually are cast aside. It’s a modern day parable of the “Good Samaritan.” (Colson, 10/23/03; PluggedIn movie review)
We’re told that Coach Jones and James Robert Kennedy are still friends to this day. Coach Jones illustrated the godly virtues we are to model as Christian neighbors. The Bible defines our neighbor as anyone in need that we can help.
Chapter three of Proverbs stresses three major themes: It is wise to trust God (vss. 1-12); it is wise to value wisdom (vss. 13-20); and it is wise to be kind to others (vss. 21-35). This morning we are concentrating on the last part of chapter three.
To improve our relationship with others…
I. BE HELPFUL (PROVERBS 3:27-28)
Proverbs 3:27-31 presents a series of instructions regarding neighborliness. All the instructions are stated negatively. In fact, in the original each verse begins “Do not.” A negative command is clearer than a positive command. Which would be clearer to a small child: “I want you to play in the yard” or “Do not go into the street”?
Bible scholars understand v. 27 in one of two ways. Literally it reads, “Do not withhold good from its owners.” In other words, pay your obligations. In that day a laborer was paid daily. He needed the money to buy food for that day or the next. If a man has worked for us then we owe him the money.