This is the fourth post in a series that I wrote about in a post called who’s ur neighbor?. I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here: Neighbor 1: Hurting. Side note, I think this is finally going to be a short post…well in comparison anyway!
Chapter 4 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Someone Who Appears on My Path’. I think this is finally going to be a short post!
After writing the last 3 posts, I began to worry that I was sounding preachy or that I was putting people on a guilt-trip. That is the last thing I wanted to do. I checked in with a few readers (one of which is Louis…but biggest fan and critic!) and they said I wasn’t. I know that I am passionate about this, and only wanted to express that to others. Wayne Gordon also states….
One of the greatest challenges facing preachers and Christians teachers is to exhort followers of Christ to do what they can do without making them feel guilty for not doing what they can’t do. Too many people feel guilty for, or at least trouble by, not doing anything about problems they cannot do anything about–for not helping people they are not in a position to help.
We are constantly being inundated with pleas for help…Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Orphaned Children, Abandoned Cats and Dogs, A Child with Cancer, Aids in Africa, Homelessness, Human Trafficking, Elder Abuse, Fatherlessness, The War on Drugs, Immigration, Crime and Poverty, Land Use, Environmental Concerns, etc. It’s all too overwhelming and depressing when you sit down and really think about it all. We live in a fallen world.
I agree with Gordon.
These stories grieve us, but the reality is that none of us is Superman. We have neither the opportunity nor the ability to solve all these problems…we need to pay attention to those people and those opportunities God has placed on our paths. Who are the people whom God allows you the privilege of coming into contact with on a regular basis? Those are your neighbors.
Please don’t misunderstand me and think I am saying that we shouldn’t give to these needs. Yes…give to those who are doing great work in areas of mighty need! Please! But, I’m saying that we also have needs that are right in front of us that we shouldn’t ignore. There is a someone in your path every day that could use your help, if we look for them and respond. Someone who doesn’t just need a check, but needs a ride to the grocery, needs prayer, needs help moving, needs someone to listen, needs parenting advice, needs career advice, needs help with deadlines at work, etc. What I am asking is…. How can we love our neighbor at work? at the gym? at the doctor’s office? at our book club? at the grocery store, restaurant or park?
Lord, there are so many needs, so many hurting people. It can be overwhelming, and I am thankful that you are in control, not me! Sometimes the burden feels so heavy, but I give it all to you to carry, because you have told us not to. Today, I ask you to use me in a simple way. Make me aware of the people in my path. Who needs my help? Use me to meet that need. Lord, let me not come up with an excuse as to why I can’t help, but Lord, I ask You for the strength to be about YOUR work…for YOUR glory, not mine. Thank you, Lord. In your name we pray. Amen.