One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25, NLT)
When the expert in the Law asked Jesus what he MUST do to inherit eternal life, Jesus asked his own question: What does the Law tell you? (Answering a question with a question makes my husband crazy!)
The man quickly demonstrated his knowledge: Love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself.
Ding, ding, ding.
He probably should have stopped there, but…endeavoring to find out the least he had to do with the least amount of people…he asked the question of clarification: and just who is that?
So Jesus told him the story of the Good Samaritan.
Readers Digest version: A guy heads out on a business trip. Robbers attack him, beat him, and leave him to die. A couple of religious types avoided getting involved by passing on the other side of the street—can’t get too close!
Jesus then introduced the most unlikely of heroes, a despisssssssssssssed (hiss like a snake when you say that) Samaritan. And he does everything to care for the man—he hows him mercy.
Who is your neighbor?
A.N.Y.O.N.E. And everyone you can extend the hand of mercy to.
And how do we love that neighbor?
This afternoon while I took (yet again) the grandson’s dog out to do his business, a thought popped up through my grumbling. He says he love the adorable mutt, but only puts words to that love when it’s convenient or fun. He’s nowhere to be found when there’s puke or poop to clean up, or when it crimps his plans.
Love isn’t conditional or convenient. Love costs. Love changes the lover and the beloved.
There is no how or who, why or when—Our neighbor is everybody else and we love them by seeing them, not avoiding them, and offering them the amazing love of the Father.
Prayer thoughts: God, I confess I don’t always leap to love. Sometimes I wish someone else would do the tough stuff. But you never fail to love me—no matter what mess I’m in. Thanks. Sink your love deep into my awareness until I don’t worry about the least I have to do, but live into your fullness until that’s what people see in me. Amen.