Luke 10:36-37 (KJV)
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
I had go back when I read these verses. I needed to be reminded of the whole story. It’s important to notice the laywer’s question, and his reason for asking it. In verse 29 it says: “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” He wanted to be able to confirm this; as if it were something to tick off a list of deeds done for the day.
But Jesus turns the question around and asks one Himself instead. The command to love your neighbour doesn’t ask us to pin down exactly who our neighbour is. We cannot simply make a list of names here; the woman at the drugstore, the jogger that goes by my house each morning, my literal neighbor, or the lady at the checkout whp always comments on my children’s “lovely singing”. This command is all about our hearts. In Luke 16:15, Jesus says to the Pharisees, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
It reminds me of a sermon I was listening to yesterday that spoke to Three Things Better Than Sacrifice: obedience, love, mercy. These are so much better 🙂
We need to be careful that we do not let our fire go out, we cannot lose our love for Christ and His word. We must never let our attitude, or deeds become a list of accomplishments to hold up before God each day so that we can say: “I did it!” Even our best of works will not be perfect enough to justify us before God. May we always be in His will, doing the work that He has for us. Thanks be to God who creates in me a desire and a love for His creation.
Let us say each day: “Lord, for the future of the church, for the future of the gospel, for Your way, and also for my own life, I offer myself without condition, without reservation, into Your hands. Lord, I delight to offer myself to You and am willing to let You have Your full way through me.”