“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” Luke 10:25 (NIV)
If Jesus appeared on CNN tonight and was asked what it would take to inherit eternal life, the sound bite would be: “‘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 NIV).
A lawyer once asked Jesus this very question, and he insisted on drilling for a minutely detailed definition of neighbor (Luke 10:29).
Jesus, a gentle teacher with a gentle yoke, did not answer directly (or even crack any lawyer jokes). Instead, he told a story about a man beaten and left for dead on the road to Jericho.
First, a priest walked by, and, seeing the injured man, he quietly crossed to the other side of the road.
Then, a man who ensured the purity of the local Temple walked by, but, seeing the injured man, he, too, slipped to the other side of the road.
Finally, a man from a despised race, a Samaritan, stopped to help the injured man. He treated the man’s injuries and took him to a nearby inn, paying for his care and lodging until he could get back on his feet.
Who, Jesus asked, was the injured man’s neighbor?
The lawyer responded, “The one who showed him mercy.”
“That’s right,” Jesus said, “now go and do the same” (Luke 10:37, based on NLT).
The second greatest commandment, after “Love the Lord your God with all you’ve got” is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In the next few devotionals, Pastor Rick will teach us about our second greatest responsibility: to love our neighbors.
What are some ways you can be a good neighbor during the holiday season?
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Your finances are important to God. Saddleback Resources offers Managing Our Finances God’s Way, a seven-week, video-based study for small groups or individuals that will inspire you to live debt-free and/or manage finances in a way that enables you to respond to God’s calling on your life.