He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back’. Luke 10:34-35

Perhaps you’ve heard this before: “You’re in love with the idea of being in love.” The Good Samaritan is such a familiar story that when we hear its message we love to think of ourselves as a Good Neighbor. How could we be anything else as a Christ follower? But if we are honest with ourselves, can we give the name of our neighbors, or even remember the last time we might have helped them? Jesus’ story draws attention not only to the actions of the characters but what’s in their hearts. Their actions came from what they had inside.  In this week’s devotionals we have explored seeing our neighbors with our eyes (head), our heart, and now our hands (action).

We can agree with all Jesus teaches. We can believe in the Greatest Commandment – Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and the Golden Rule – Love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus doesn’t want us to just agree with him, he wants us to live like him. We might believe but do we go and do likewise? It’s like believing in the fire extinguisher, but not using it when there is fire around us. The Good Samaritan didn’t just love the people he liked, he saw the beaten man, had pity, and then acted. Mercy is doing. Love is action.

Jesus demonstrated his love towards us while we were yet sinners. Here we have a model to follow from Jesus himself. Our recent speaker, A.J. Sherrill, writes in his book Expansive,

Jesus first initiative in public ministry was not to make a name for himself. His first initiative was to receive a name for himself. And that name is Beloved. For those who seek to missionally “be love,” they are wise to first “be-loved.” …the Church is referred to by the same name, Beloved, no less than 66 times. Jesus is the beloved one through which the people of God access belovedness. When we are filled with his love we can be his hands and feet. We can meet the neighbors, the strangers, the broken on our way with the heart of Jesus. Use this block map to begin putting action behind your Good Neighbor intentions.

By Donna Burns  

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