Focus 40 Day 38: Extreme Living—Honoring God with Our Relationships with Our Neighbors
Prayer Focus: Pray to be a good steward of your time – Eph. 5:15
Extreme Living—Honoring God with Our Relationships with Our Neighbors
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
—Luke 10:25–28 (NIV)
LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS. What an awesome challenge this is. In this passage the expert in the law goes on to ask who his neighbor is and Jesus replies with the story that we all have come to know as the story of the good Samaritan. I think the man’s question was a good one. We all must embrace the idea that our neighbor is any person that is put in our path and not just the person we live next door to. But a better question that Jesus answers in this passage is how we are to love our neighbors. When this Samaritan man walked upon the beaten and half-dead man, there was nothing to distinguish his nationality, his morality, his sexuality, his economic stability, or any other -ity that we tend to put in the path of helping people.
The passage says that he was beaten and robbed. So he was probably unresponsive, which was why the priest and Levi passed by. For at a distance they would not have known whether he was dead, and touching a dead body would have banned them from the synagogue for a while. He was robbed, so he may have had everything, including his clothes, stolen from him. The Samaritan couldn’t have known anything about this man, and yet he stopped to check on him. Without any pertinent information, he met his immediate physical needs with bandages, oil, and wine. He also took him to a place where he could rest and heal, sparing no expense and giving no parameters regarding how long the man could stay at the inn. This Samaritan wasn’t good; he was gullible. He was extravagant in love and compassion and in showing the kingdom of God to this stranger. May we show love so extravagantly to our neighbors today.
Father, today may I trust you will protect me from looking like a fool as I look for ways to share your love extravagantly. Help me to give up control and fears as I trust that the people you put in my path are yours and not just people that I give money or food or advice to. May I honor you with the relationship that I forge with them. Amen.
Rev. Trey Oldham
Live Transformation Team Member and Pastor