Tuesday, September 16, 2008

He Gets it! Love your neighbor.

He Gets it!: Love your neighbor

The Bible says, "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,"and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 8:8-10)."

To obey what God is saying means that you need to get it--love your neighbor as yourself. One man in our Northeast Ohio District of Grace Brethren Churches gets this. I found his testimony on my friend's blog, Jim Brown, who is the lead pastor at the Grace Community Church in Goshen, IN. Pastor Jim posted a video where JeRod Cherrie is selling his superbowl ring to sponsor building one orphanage with Asia's Hope just like Wooster Grace is intending to do.

JeRod is one person who seeks to love others as himself. He wants to make a difference in a big way within his arena of influence. I am one person who strives to love my neighbors as myself. I want to make a difference in a small way within my area of influence.

In our neighborhood, the power is still out from Sunday's high winds. We are in the middle of Wooster, but the neighbors shared how historically the power is returned later than other grids in Wooster.

So there we all stood. In the cul-de-sac listening to the wind howl and bend the trees in our neighborhood. We met one another and got more acquainted.

Now last night, my wife called me to go home and invite a neighbor to supper whose wife is out of state. He is alone. And we wanted to invite him to my in-laws (they have power in their house ten minutes away). So I drive over to extend an invitation.

But you know what, at first I hesitated. You would think that a minister would not only know the verses above and its principle; but that he would immediately embrace and engage in reaching out to a neighbor. Yet honestly, I hesitated.

Praise God that I quickly denied the temptation to leave my neighbor, Richard alone. I felt that he probably would not come with me to supper. He is a loner and self-sufficient. But I prayed for God's help to go beyond my inconvenience and find Dick and invite him to join us for supper. When I located him, I invited him. He declined, but he was so appreciative. He was glad that I invited him.
As I drove away, I thanked God for moving in my life to honor Him. At first I hesitated, but with God's help in prayer. I stopped offering rational excuses for not extending an invitation and I practiced what the Bible says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." God is working in me. He can work in you.

So owe no man anything, except love. Love your neighbor as yourself. You are one person who can intentionally love your neighbors as yourself. You can make a difference in a small way within your area of influence. Even if you hesitate, God can still use you. Take the initiative and reach out to your neighbors. Everyone is seeking to do reach out. You can too.

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