Day 3: My Home & My Neighbors
Media & Communications Team
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
I’ve moved a lot. My parents have moved. My grandparents have moved several times, and I’ve moved about every two years since I got married. No one’s home is a place I have a strong emotional attachment to anymore.
This makes me sad, especially when I think about the places I did attach to. The farmhouse with the pear tree. The big stone house that awed me with its heavy stone mantel over a fireplace I could almost stand up in. The homes my grandparents had when I was little, with the big curving stairway leading to my mom’s childhood bedroom, where she had a pastel rainbow painted on the wall. I stood by her old bed staring at it when I was about six, and it nearly knocked me over to realize she’d once been a kid like me.
I’ll be moving to another apartment soon, and the thing that makes me saddest is my old Siberian husky died this past year. He’d been with me since I was 16, and this is the last apartment he lived in. Whatever place I move to, he won’t have ever been a part of. I won’t be able to look to the corner where he used to sleep.
With no particular place I keep my nostalgia, my sense of belonging, my memories of hardships and Christmases and visits from sisters, I think a lot about what “home” actually means. A quick internet search says home is where the heart is, home is not a place it’s a feeling, home is where your Wi-Fi connects automatically, home is where mom is.
Home is so important to us because of the people in it. So while my home changes a lot, it also really hasn’t changed much at all. I’ve started to more deliberately connect the meaning behind “home” to the people in my life. My home has expanded to Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, New Jersey. Asking “where is my home?” also makes me ask “who are my neighbors?” And honestly, sometimes I ask that because I don’t want to get involved or give more or say the hard things or be where I’m needed. But the story Christ tells shows me that my neighbors are anyone I see who needs me.
Not meeting the needs of my neighbors damages my own home and the people in it. It’s our joy to be part of building up our home. And it’s mercy to us when we are someone else’s neighbor, and they bandage our wounds. As an abstract concept, I’ve known this for a long time. But with “who is my neighbor?” coming up daily in our national and global headlines, and so many of us being asked to look at deep and painful needs, it’s more literal and more relevant to my life than ever. More important than “who is my neighbor?” is the question “who needs me to be their neighbor?”
Who is your neighbor, in the sense that Jesus meant in Luke 10?
The way Jesus defined “neighbor” in this passage is the person who treated a stranger’s deep need. How can you find out these needs of the people you encounter?
How can you and your family personally “go and do likewise” when it comes to treating the deep needs of others? (It doesn’t have to be financial.) Find at least 3 ways you could do this.
Lord, I often don’t want to add more to my plate. It’s so full already. But I know what a grace it is and how it saves me to have someone make me a meal, fight a problem with me, pay a bill I can’t afford, treat my mental and physical wounds, and be the safety net community is meant for. Increase my compassion and my empathy so that I have more to give, remind me that grace never returns empty, and help me be willing to show up for my neighbors here and across all borders.
With your family, pick one thing from the list of three you created for discussion question 3, and make a family event of it. Meet a need of your close or distant neighbors. Also, watch closely for when neighbors meet your needs, and discuss that with your family.