For decades, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a place children wanted to be. Everything was peaceful, and everyone was friendly. While it may always be a beautiful day in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, we all don’t live in his neck of the woods. In the real world we live in, our neighbors can annoy us, avoid us, or even appall us. Why does God want us to love those people?
After a studious lawyer discussed eternal life with Jesus, he received a lesson in Neighboring 101. In one of the most well-known stories of the Bible, Jesus answered the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the story of a man who was violently assaulted on his way to Jericho. Two individuals passed by, a priest and a Levite, both people you would expect to help (vv. 31–32). But, because of their personal religious practices, they did not want to associate or touch an “unclean” person.
Jesus’ listeners probably gasped when He said it was a Samaritan who helped the man (v. 33). The Samaritan’s actions were selfless, sympathetic, and sacrificial (vv. 34–35). Jesus then asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (v. 36). You can almost imagine the change in the lawyer’s tone of voice when he answered, “The one who had mercy on him” (v. 37).
Jesus says we are to “go and do likewise,” (v. 37). But what exactly are we supposed to do? And maybe more importantly, who is our neighbor? The answer is quite simple: Your neighbor is anyone whose need you see and whose need you can meet.
>> Today, look for ways that you can be a good neighbor and show others the love of Jesus. Be observant and mindful of the needs of the people whose paths you cross today. If there is a way you can meet that need, don’t hesitate to act.
We have all been recipients of timely, compassionate help. We have seen how often You provide through people who know You and delight in generous giving. Grow in us a servant’s heart like that.