I’m fortunate to live in a quiet neighborhood with caring neighbors—you know, next door neighbors, close by folks. Neighbors are usually thought of as those in the neighborhood.
Then, recently, I read an anonymous quote printed on one of those daily tear-off calendar pages, Who is my Neighbor? It is he who in this world has need of me. That certainly broadens the normal concept of the word neighbor, doesn’t it? My neighbor includes a stranger somewhere on this planet who needs me. Living out such words in verity is what makes Pauls and Mother Teresas. True love is selfless.
Who in this world has need of me is what sparks the desire to sacrifice income and time to help people across the globe, who are hungry or homeless—such as those in our own town. These words act as fuel to burn away the dross of our selfishness and allow us to give hours, weeks, days, months, and years of service. We all need the starter for our selfless acts, just like sourdough need it’s starter.
Romans 13:8-10 drives it home to us clearly by emphasizing that you shall love your neighbor as yourself and is the summation of the 10 commandments.
Fulfillment of the Law
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Think on the counsel given in those three verses in Romans: the only thing that we are to owe anyone is love, and love does no harm to one’s neighbor. It’s so simplistic—the concept of love!
How do we accomplish this act of love toward others—even those across the globe? The previous chapter in Romans chapter 12 is like a blueprint for loving others. Yet after we read and study all this, action must take place, not urged by having-to-do but driven by want-to-do.
There are several references about loving one’s neighbor in the Bible, so the admonition to serve is truly a constant because the need is constant. Life’s disappointments abound all around us. And we, too, suffer much of it. Sometimes we are on the receiving end. It may or may not be the need of food, shelter and clothing for us; it may just be the need of someone to be our listening friend. It is he who in this world has need of me. The words speak to whomever the “me” is and whatever the “need.” Thus, we each should ask, “Who is my neighbor?”