Beyond Sundays-Luke 10:27 January’s WOW

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

EL pen Logo with heartWell, here we are, in a brand new year, kind of like a whole new chalkboard without any eraser marks on it. I love this time of year, a time of reflection, introspection and expectation. Isn’t this the time of year we determine to do things differently? And then life, like an angry ocean wave, crashes up and over us and sometimes, we are tossed to and fro, forgetting the resolve we began the year with. That’s why we have these monthly WOWs, these Weapons of Warfare and Words of Wisdom for times such as these. You can’t go wrong by committing to memory verses found in His love letters to us! Oh, what a splash of perspective that eases even the most overwhelming of waves of life. Grab your coffee and join me for our first WOW of 2015.

One of the things I’ve resolved in my heart to do in this New Year is slow down enough to be mindful of how I may come across to my neighbor, aka, a perfect stranger. Why should I care about how I appear to a perfect stranger and how can you call a neighbor a perfect stranger? Well, I’m glad you asked that two-part question and by the end of our WOW, I hope you have your answers and are able to apply these Weapons of Warfare in times when you are challenged to know your neighbor, love your neighbor and be a neighbor.

Have you ever gotten the feeling He was trying to teach you something when you notice you hear the same principle within multiple circumstances? I don’t know about you, but I can lean on the side of being a hard-head which often requires hitting me over the head with the lesson and that’s what happened to me with this month’s WOW! So not only am I supposed to learn it and live it but share it, too!

While in Texas visiting my son and his family, we visited their church. The pastor’s message stirred up a few reminders of my resolve to be mindful of how I come across to others, especially a stranger or neighbor and while these reminders were stirred, they were challenging me at the same time. The Pastor’s message was based upon Luke 10, verses 25 thru 37 with the principle of knowing your neighbor, loving your neighbor and being a neighbor. Come with me into a conversation with Jesus and a certain lawyer in the midst of a crowd. I hope that listening to this conversation will make this WOW come alive for you and give you greater insight into God’s desire for us and our neighbors.

The lawyer begins the conversation with the motive to test Jesus: “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus answers with a question, actually, two questions, but basically Jesus asks the lawyer to tell Him his interpretation of what the law says.

I can almost hear the pride in the lawyer’s voice: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind …” there’s a big fat pause, almost as if he didn’t understand the last part he was about to recite but it wasn’t that at all because this lawyer knew the law – “and your neighbor as yourself.”

So Jesus tells him in so many words: good answer; now just do this and you will live.

Being a good lawyer, with a motive to trip Jesus up on cross-examination, the lawyer asks Jesus another question: “And who is my neighbor?”

Now here’s where it gets meaty, so get your knife and fork out because we are about to have a good meal of scripture here that tells us why we must take our faith Beyond Sundays!

Jesus, ever so calmly, as if he were reading a story to a captive audience, tells this lawyer guy, and everyone surrounding them, about a certain man, who happened to be a Gentile – the Gentiles were despised people by the Jews – who had a run of really unfortunate circumstances. Thieves had robbed him, even stripped him of his clothing and left him for dead. In fact, the scripture says that they left him “half dead!”

Now, unfortunately, that doesn’t sound like anything different than what we hear about in our neighborhoods, does it? Let’s continue with Jesus’ answer of who our neighbor is.

Jesus continues with His story and talks about a certain Jewish priest that was walking down this road where the victim lay beaten and half dead, “And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side”!

Does that mean he was on the same side of the half-dead Gentile and crossed the street when he saw the ghastly sight of his beaten body? I guess it doesn’t matter how he passed him by; the point is he intentionally passed him by, and this is a priest … a “Godly” man! Yes, Godly people do un-godly things, priest or non-priest!

Jesus continues:

Another person comes walking down the road; this time it’s a Levite, a religious leader! Same concept, a “Godly” man, only this guy was positively blatantly intentional about his lack of compassion because this guy is on the same side of the street as the half-dead guy and actually “came and looked” and then passed by on the other side!

Are you kidding me? How can you look tragedy in the face and walk away?

Let’s change up the circumstances a little bit by doing some character swapping and role-playing … without finger-pointing! We don’t have to make the story bloody and so physically tragic but whom do you know who is down on their luck? Maybe they are not lying in the streets half dead, but they are about to lose their house, or can’t pay their utilities, or purchase groceries.

Do you have a friend that is shunned because of cultural issues, or religious preferences or because of the way the look, dress, or because they struggle financially?

How is it that we treat those we deem “different” than us? Do we begin to cross the street as we get closer to them in an effort to get further away? Or do we get brazenly close and shun them to their face and talk about them behind their back?

Could it be that we’ve become overly concerned with the why and how they got there instead of the “what” or “how” we can reach out and help?

Who is a neighbor? In this story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches us that our neighbor is anyone we come in contact with, no matter what social, economical or religious differences there are!

This lesson within these few verses requires that we take our faith Beyond Sundays; that we need to prove our faith in our actions through loving our neighbor. How can we call it living if we are not loving?

Join me next week for the life application portion of our first WOW for 2015.

Looking for my neighbor …

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