A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
"A Lesson From A Good Neighbor"
Message summary: All over the world we want people to seek to be good neighbors and in doing so that would greatly contribute to peaceful towns and cities and states and nations and ultimately the world! Apart from our family it begins in our neighborhood. What kind of neighbor are you?
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"Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away" (Proverbs 27:10). "Each one helps his neighbor and says to his brother, 'Be strong!'" (Isaiah 41:6).
This morning an older man walked by our home with his dog as he has for a few years. We know just when he's coming because our dog, Mollie, always alerts us with her watchdog bark. He's always carrying a large empty plastic bag in one hand and holding onto his dog's leash in the other. About 30 minutes later we see him walk by our house again with a full plastic bag.
This plastic bag puzzled us for some time as we assumed he was practicing dog walker's etiquette by picking up his own dog's waste but no dog's waste fills a large plastic bag so that was not the answer (sorry to be graphic here). Since he lives way up the road in a development we've not yet met him so we asked another dog walker friend if he knew why this man walks with a large bag daily and he admitted he was curious just like us, but didn't know either. He too had observed him going out with the empty bag but seeing it filled to the brim coming back.
Several weeks ago we were on our way to work early in the morning, spotted the man walking along a major road and discovered the reason for the full bag. He was picking up trash as he walked his dog along the road! Come to think about it we rarely see trash along the roads in our neighborhood and now we know at least part of the reason why.
Observing this neighbor's good deed reminds us of the many ways we are blessed in our neighborhood by having good neighbors, even those we've never met.
Some other examples:
We hope you all have good neighbors and that you are a good neighbor. One thing we all have in common is that we all live in a neighborhood and have neighbors. (I suppose if you are on a remote island you can contest this.)
The neighborhoods we live in vary greatly. Many live in cities, many live in suburbs and small towns and there are those, like us, who live out in the country. But we all live in a neighborhood of some type. Even a person living way out in the country will speak about his nearest neighbor even though they may be a mile away.
"Neighbor" is used 92 times in a standard Bible translation (NASV). The daily Proverb states, "Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away" (Proverbs 27:10). Well, we each have brothers (and sisters) who are far away so when it comes to frequent interactions this proverb is our experience. Or as Mister Rogers often sang on "Mister Rogers Neighborhood", "Who are the people in your neighborhood, the people that you meet each day."
Or as an adaptation to the longstanding State Farm jingle states, Like a good neighbor, let us be there.
The dictionary defines neighbor as "one living or located near another". In considering social groupings it seems we often consider our municipality such as a town or city as the smallest unit but it really is our neighborhood, which may be harder to define in regard to distinct boundaries.
But the Bible understanding of neighbor has no boundaries. The Bible definition of neighbor was answered when Christ taught one of His most famous parables, "The Good Samaritan" (Luke 10:25-37) which is prompted by this encounter between the Lord and "an expert in the law".
"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?' 'What is written in the Law?' he replied. 'How do you read it?' He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 'You have answered correctly,' Jesus replied. 'Do this and you will live.' But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?' (Luke 25-29).
Essentially the parable teaches us that our neighbors are those we encounter in life who have a need. The parable ends with a question from Jesus, "'Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?' The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise'" (Luke 10:36,37).
All over the world we want people to seek to be good neighbors and in doing so that would greatly contribute to peaceful towns and cities and states and nations and ultimately the world! Apart from our family it begins in our neighborhood. What kind of neighbor are you?
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for those You providentially place in our neighborhood, many of them becoming friends for life. So many times when we are in need of help they are the first ones to respond by lending a helping hand, loaning a tool or other needed item to help us out, or watching over our house and property as we travel. May we be a blessing to our neighbors as we build friendships and model a life that glorifies You so that we influence those who don't follow You to come to Christ. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Good Samaritan" Video Dallas Holm
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