October 10, 2021
810 Words – 4 Minute Read

When I was very young and would hear the Lord’s parable about the great Samaritan in Sunday School or church, I always asked myself, “ What is a Samaritan?” Now as an adult, I understand it was simply the man’s nationality. But I also see today, that it really made no difference in the fact that a man did well in looking after a  stranger he found near death in a ditch. After telling that parable, Jesus asked the all-important question even suitable for us to answer in our lifetime, “ Who is your neighbor?

In further evidence of Jesus ‘ request to love thy neighbor, I read in what’s often called THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT. It can be found in Mark 12: 30-31.

Jesus said, “ And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

What a life-changing scripture that statement from Jesus means for me (and hopefully, you too) today.  Who is my neighbor? Who is your neighbor?

So we must consider not only our next-door neighbor as a neighbor but also people from other states, other countries, and even people we have never met nor ever will.

That’s BIG, isn’t it?

I DO consider all in that above list as my neighbors. But I confess, my favorite neighbors are the ones I have met and know personally. Isn’t that human nature? It is to me.

As a neighbor myself, one of the things I enjoy is being able to do things for others. Maybe things they can not do for themselves, or just don’t have time to do them. Nobody knows what joy I find in helping Sandra keep the kitchen clean and the dishes washed, dried, and put away. I usually begin my working day on doing that around 3:00 A.M. or  4:00 A.M. Her big “Thank you’s” to me are worth it in ways I can not describe.

And my neighbors date back well over 50 years when Sandra and I pastored churches all over south Arkansas. What joy it is that even all these years later we hear from former parishioners that loved us and we still love them too. Just a few months ago, I got a call from a former parishioner’s daughter who called to ask me if I could come and do her mother’s funeral. The mother had requested that I officiate at her funeral. She was 102 years old and had been a wonderful friend. It was a joy for Sandra and me to go back and do the funeral, even though it was a long hard day to do so. To me, that’s being a neighbor. I’m certain you, too, have done many hardships to be a neighbor. Isn’t that what Jesus meant by saying, “ Love your neighbor as yourself “  I am certain that’s exactly what Jesus meant.

Here’s another example of being a neighbor that many would not think about. Sandra and I have in our neighborhood a man we hire frequently to do yard work, etc. around our house. He is technically disabled due to a bad wreck he was in many years ago. But Joe can still do some work and loves to do so. I first was introduced to Joe by my sister when I called her to ask if she knew anyone who could help me get a big U Haul truck unloaded when we first moved to Longview, Texas. I had two people already unloading the truck but needed at least one more person. My sister sent him to the location and he did an excellent job of helping unload the truck. So Sandra and I have used him ever since.

However, there is one problem we have with Joe. We have a very difficult time making him take the money we think he deserves. Early on I told Sandra to keep up with the hours Joe worked as we had set a nice hourly wage in our minds that we thought his labor was worth. When we try to give him the pay he always says, no, that’s too much. But we make him take something. We said this will at least cover your gasoline. Still, he reluctantly takes the money. He says he just likes to get out and help people. Is Joe a good neighbor, or what? You bet!

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God Bless,
Spencer Plumley

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