But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” -Luke 10:29
Oh, how often I want to justify my own lack of initiative.
There have been so many times when I’ve seen someone in need and shrugged off the call to love them.
To be honest, sometimes I genuinely don’t want to help.
But more often than not, I’m nervous to step up, unsure of how to help or too busy to make time.
So when a need arises, the excuses start flowing, and far too many times, I stop there.
Have you ever seen this in your life?
As the body of Christ, our call is clear.
After sharing the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35), Jesus tells the man, “Go and do likewise.” -Luke 10:37
I love that short yet profound verse.
Go and do likewise.
When we see someone in need, anyone in need, we are to be the hands of Christ.
But often, my hands feel far to week and I freeze up and turn away.
So how do we answer this call with unwavering love? How do we reach out and love the ones in need just as the Good Samaritan?
Spend Time with Christ
Our time with the Lord is what fuels us for service. Through prayer, Scripture and stillness before God you will find your eyes open to the opportunities.
When I have spent specific time asking God to give me opportunities and the strength to love others, I’ve seen doors open right before my eyes.
It is a powerful experience when we ask for the chance to love and serve and we see God pour out opportunities.
But without that crucial time, surrendering your heart to Christ, you will find your strength running out, your schedule too full and your heart closed.
Spending time with God will:
- Fill you with the courage to step out and love others even when you are unsure.
- Strengthen you in times where you don’t feel equipped.
- Give you an awareness and open heart to the opportunities around you.
I love the phrase that once encouraged me as I began the journey of learning to love others.
“God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”
As you learn to love like the Good Samaritan, you will find God is equipping you daily through your time with Him.
Go and Do
Sometimes, this is the hardest step. We cannot live out the call to “Go and do likewise,” unless we are willing to go.
This can look different for everyone. Sometimes, for me, I’ve had to sign up to volunteer or work in an area of need. This has opened the door for me to love and serve others.
But other times, it was more spontaneous, and I had to be willing to step outside of my schedule and routine to make time for those in need.
Take time to go out and open the door to the needs of others.
One of the biggest obstacles to creating the space to love your neighbor is tearing down the walls of judgement.
It can be so easy to judge others in a different place than you. And it can be so easy to pile on the reasons why not to go.
They should help themselves.
You shouldn’t be seen with that person.
They could have prevented this trouble.
And yet, how often have we found ourselves in the same spot?
Sinners. Falling short. In constant need of grace.
I want to encourage you to step outside of yourself and take the time to go out. When you do this, you will open the door to so many opportunities to be the hands of Christ to your neighbor.
Share Christ’s Heart
When we spend time loving our neighbors like God has called us to, we are sharing the very heart of Christ.
My own life was changed by those who were willing to step outside of their comfort zone and love me where I was. Without their willingness to love their neighbor, I could have remained lost and broken.
I have seen the radical and transforming power of Christ at work when I’ve taken the time to go and serve others.
Our purpose here is to bring glory to Christ.
And when we answer the call to serve and to make disciples of all nations, we are walking in that glorious purpose.
The Good Samaritan is a beautiful picture of a man willing to lay aside his own schedule and plans, lay aside all forms of judgement and fear and to step out and be the hands of Christ.
Are you willing to do that today? Who is the neighbor that you can take time to love this week?
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