WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?


William Andrew Dillard

This classic question penned in Luke 10:30 was asked of Jesus by a certain lawyer. It is a question that continues to be pondered as men seek to justify themselves and/or their actions in life. Of course, it continues to be asked because men are not willing to let the simple and forthright teachings of Jesus on the subject be the final answer. However, Jesus’ answer is the final truth whether it is accepted or not.
The context of the question centers around the terms of fulfilling the Law of Moses. First, one is to love God with all his heart then he is to love his neighbor as himself. So, who is my neighbor? To what degree am I allowed to discriminate and still do what I should do? Think with me about what is being said and taught here.
Does this mean that one should run right out and find someone in need and give him all his earthly possessions? No! Should this happen on a wide scale, all commerce would stop and the whole world become immediately impoverished. Jesus did not intend that. In fact, the Bible teaches us that the lazy who will not work should neither eat. II Thess. 3:10. Does this mean that poverty should be eliminated in one’s local vicinity? No! Jesus said, “The poor you have with you always.”
O.K. So now I’m thinking. Just what does this mean anyway? It means that a true Christian should not pass up opportunities to be genuinely helpful to others who genuinely have need, whoever they may be. In the “Good Samaritan story” it was the priest and Levite who miserably failed the test. They had opportunity and means to be helpful, but choose to not become involved. Then it was the generally despised Samaritan who actually performed the helpful deed. It was he who realized the unknown victim was in desperate need of a helping hand and he gladly gave it. The Samaritan realized the victim was his neighbor even though he may have never seen him before, and he was also not of his race.
Jesus’ teaching here is very plain and unmistakable. Who was neighbor to the unknown victim of crime? Was it the priest? Was it the Levite? No, it was the Samaritan. Jesus made the obvious application. “Go and do thou likewise.”
It really is true. What we keep, we lose. What we invest in others, we keep and it multiplies. Let us all be keenly aware of the plight of others. Those who need help the most are most likely those who will not ask for it. When opportunity knocks, let’s be ready to be a good neighbor.

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