Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to “‘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 (Luke 10:27). One of the teachers of the law, looking for a loophole, asks Jesus the question, “Who is my neighbor?” This prompts Jesus to tell His parable of the Good Samaritan.
Mother Teresa, who cared for the outcasts of India, paraphrased Matthew 25 and described what it means to be a neighbor this way:
When I was hungry, you gave me to eat.
When I was thirsty, you gave me to drink.
When I was weary, you helped me find rest.
When I was anxious, you calmed, all my fears.
When I was little, you taught me to read.
When I was lonely, you gave me your love.
When I was on a sick bed, you cared for my needs.
In a strange country, you make me at home.
Hurt in a battle, you bound up my wounds.
Searching for kindness, you held out your hand.
Being a neighbor often is best demonstrated not with grand, noteworthy acts of charity, but by small unnoticed acts of kindness. I love the story I read recently about Sam Rayburn, the long-time speaker of the House of Representatives, who held that position longer than anyone else in history. This story reveals the kind of friend Sam Rayburn was.
One night, the teenage daughter of a friend of Speaker Rayburn died suddenly. Early the next morning the grieving father heard a knock at his door. When he opened it, there was Speaker Rayburn.
Rayburn said, “I just came by to see what I could do to help.”
The father replied, “I don’t think there is anything you can do, Mr. Speaker. We are making all the arrangements.”
“Well,” Mr. Rayburn said, “have you had your coffee this morning?”
The man replied that the family had not taken time for breakfast. So Mr. Rayburn said that he could at least make coffee for them. While he was working in the kitchen, the father came in and said, “Mr. Speaker, I thought you were supposed to be having breakfast at the White House this morning.”
“Well, I was,” Mr. Rayburn said, “but I called the president and told him I had a friend who was in trouble and I couldn’t come.”
Let me encourage you to be that kind of friend today. Bring someone a cup of coffee. Bake a cake (or coconut crème pie). Send a card. Offer to babysit. Mow someone’s grass. Your act of kindness might be the key that opens someone’s heart to Jesus.
Have a great week!
Remember Community and Friends Day – This Saturday, September 16th
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