This is a cross post ... just finished my pastor's notes for the bulletin and website and then thought ... hey, I should post this up on my blog too. Thanks Sivin for the link to the very practical article.
That was the eye catching title of an article on the Sojourners blog. Click here for the article.
But what does it mean to “love your neighbor”? And is it important? According to Jesus “loving your neighbor as yourself” is the second greatest commandment.
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
So yes, it is important.
Michael Wilkins in his commentary on Matthew rightly says that it is helpful to go to the sermon on the Mount to see how Jesus understands “love”. I think he has it spot as he continues that:
“Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person in which one gives oneself to another to bring the relationship to God’s intended purposes. The person who loves God with all of her being — heart, soul, and mind — will understand that God’s will for her life is revealed in the Old Testament, and she will gladly, eagerly, obey it because she knows that in doing so, she is living life the way God has designed it to be lived. In turn, her obedience to God’s will transforms her entire being — heart, soul, and mind — into the image of God so that she is more like what God has intended for her to be like. Furthermore, loving her neighbor as herself means that she gives herself to other humans to help them live as God designed life to be lived, so that she helps them in their own transformation.”
As I read the article I thought to myself. Many are tough but they are practical and doable and some we can easily begin (if we have not already begun). Here’s just the first ten. What do you think?
1. Fast for the 2 billion people who live on less than a dollar a day.
2. Contact your local crisis pregnancy center and invite a pregnant woman to live with your family.
3. Ask your pastor if someone on your church’s sick list would like a visit.
4. Join an open AA meeting and befriend someone there.
5. Adopt a child.
6. Mow your neighbor’s grass.
7. Volunteer to tutor a kid at your local elementary school. (Try to get to know the kid’s family.)
8. Grow your own tomatoes – and share them.
9. Ask a small group in your community to meet regularly for intercessory prayer.
10. Build a wheel chair ramp for someone who is homebound. …
Just looking at the first ten suggestions, I thought to myself ...
No.1.... I remember how I used to skip lunch and give the lunch money to Malaysian CARE as part of the skip a programme to not just donate to help the needy but also learn to empathize with the poor by going hungry (which to the organizers was more important even if it meant getting less money).
No. 2 ... would be hard for me and not practical at this stage in my life.
No. 3 ... is something I do since I am the pastor! :-) But interestingly something I would like to see more members doing (as it has been only positive experiences for all when some members followed me for visitation!)
No. 4 ... not for me but being part of RMS was / is great and has a similar effect. Must drop by and visit the family soon!
No. 5 ... hey, just did that earlier this month :-)
No. 6 ... I think I best not do this! :-) I may kill the flowers as well. But I can see how this is something many younger ones could do.
No.7 ... I wish I had the time for this but who knows ... I may get a chance at this as part of a team if we can get our community projects going smoothly. Thursday night games is the seed bed for a variety of possible community projects. But we do need more manpower and commitment.
No. 8 ... I am the recipient of the fruits and vegetables of so many members! Thank you!!! I do hope that my small garden plot project will get off the ground next year.
No. 9 ... I am still dreaming that more will come to Monday night prayer meeting :-( Best place to start.
No 10. ... I can see how many members who are handy with tools could do this and more!
Do check out the blog article. I am sire you can come up with more than the 50 given. Many will not suit you but I am sure some would!!