TBeyond the Neighborhood
Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 14–15; Luke 22:21–46
Scripture: Love your neighbor as yourself. – Mark 12:31
Today’s Scripture: Luke 10:25–37 (NIV)
Who were the experts in the law (Luke 10:25)? These men, also known as scribes or lawyers, were authorities on the Mosaic law. They’re mentioned in the Gospels in connection with Pharisees and high priests who opposed Jesus (Matthew 22:34–35; Luke 7:30; 11:46–52). Yet they were responsible for preserving the Old Testament and applying it to the lives of Jewish believers.
Message: In the summer of 2017, Hurricane Harvey brought devastating losses of life and property to the Gulf Coast of the US. Many people provided food, water, clothing, and shelter for those in immediate need.
The owner of a piano store in Maryland felt prompted to do something more. He considered how music could bring a special kind of healing and sense of normalcy to people who had lost everything. So he and his staff began to refurbish pre-owned pianos and to make inquiries to see where the need was the greatest. That spring, Dean Kramer and his wife, Lois, began the long trek to Houston, Texas, driving a truck filled with free pianos to give to grateful families, churches, and schools in the ravaged area.
We sometimes assume the word neighbor means someone who lives nearby or at least is someone we know. But in Luke 10, Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan to teach that our love for our neighbors shouldn’t have barriers. The man from Samaria freely gave to a wounded stranger, even though the man was a Jew, part of a people group at odds with the Samaritans (vv. 25–37).
When Dean Kramer was asked why he gave away all those pianos, he explained simply: “We’re told to love our neighbors.” And it was Jesus who said, “There is no commandment greater” (Mark 12:31) than to love God and our neighbor.
Reflect & Pray
In what way are you limiting your understanding of the word neighbor? How might God be urging you to expand the borders of your “neighborhood”?
Father, help me to look beyond borders and barriers, to see everyone as my neighbor, and to love in generous ways as You have taught me.