Text: Luke 10:25-37 | Listen to Message
4 Qualities of A Good Neighbor
In Luke 10, Jesus tells the familiar parable of “The Good Samaritan” from which we can distill four principles of what it looks like to be a Christlike neighbor.
1. A Good Neighbor Sees.
It’s a simple fact that the Samaritan saw what the priest and Levite had already seen that day: a beaten, bloody body lying in the road. But where the religious leaders had seen only a problem to avoid, the Samaritan saw a neighbor to help.
If your eyes are open, of course you see neighbors with needs. But everyone knows there’s a difference between seeing and really seeing. More importantly, there’s a difference between seeing through eyes that ask, “What’s in it for me?” versus eyes that ask, “How can I serve this person with Christ’s love right now?”
2. A Good Neighbor Feels.
When the Samaritan saw the assault victim lying in the road half dead, he had compassion on him. He felt gut-wrenching pity that moved him into action.
How do you react to the needs you see? With disgust? With the kind of judgment that’s quick to speculate about how this person got in this mess in the first place? With dismissive ridicule? Or do you maybe just feel nothing at all? It doesn’t faze you to see others in need – you couldn’t care less.
Did you know that one of the feelings or attitudes most attributed to Jesus Christ is compassion? When he saw needs – even the self-inflicted kind – his heart broke. He felt empathy and he entered into people’s lives with an eagerness to show mercy. Is this what you feel?
3. A Good Neighbor Risks.
This road between Jerusalem and Jericho was called “The Way of Blood” because of all the bandits and highwaymen who attacked along its 17-mile stretch of mountainous seclusion. So when the Samaritan wandered upon a man half dead, it was risky to stop and take a look – riskier still to actually help. What if the assailants were hiding atop the nearest outcropping or just around the bend?
But the Samaritan took an even greater risk: he rode into town with the bloody Jew on his animal, he rented a room at the inn, and he stayed to take care of him. One commentator likened this to a High Plains Indian riding into Dodge City with a scalped settler on his horse, renting the hotel room just above the saloon, and sticking around until he got well.
Does your love take risks like this? Or do you play it safe and make sure you’ve got yourself covered?
4. A Good Neighbor Sacrifices.
The Samaritan sacrificed his time, his money, and his agenda. He burdened himself with the burdens of another. He changed his plans on the spur of the moment. And he even left the cost of the stranger’s care open-ended.
In his famous sermon, “The Duty of Charity to The Poor,” Jonathan Edwards noted: “How do we bear our neighbor’s burdens, when we bear no burden at all?” The reality is if you’re going to love your neighbor, it’s going to cost you something. So determine right now that you’re going to have keep margins in your schedule and margins in your budget in order to be free to love as Christ has first loved you.
Now make sure you read Part II to get the rest of the story!