This morning I am continuing my study of the gospel of Luke. I am supposed to be reading verses 25-37, but I don’t think I’ll make it through those 12 verses. Because I was forced to stop after verse 29. Don’t you just love it when God jumps off the page and you’re forced to stop and ponder what you just read?
I do. I love it when God says, “I don’t care how many verses you’re “supposed” to read. Stop here! Ponder this. Meditate on it. Make it a part of you.”
These 4 verses reveal the story of the scribe who asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. This scribe was, pardon the pun, well versed in the law. He had written it (and other things, to be sure) probably at least once and probably more often. Yet, he came to see what Jesus said he would need to do to obtain eternal life.
This passage says nothing about the man wanting to trap Jesus in any way. Maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t. But obviously this man, who knew the law, knew that eternal life could not come from the law.
But Jesus ever faithful to meet us where we are, used what this man knew to give him an answer. He asked the man;
What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?
The man answered Jesus:
‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind.’ And ‘love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus tells him to “do this and you will live”. I don’t think the man misunderstood Jesus’ point. But his next question is what stopped me. He asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
I noticed he didn’t ask who his God was. I wonder if it is easier to love a somewhat abstract God than it is to love a tangible neighbor? Is it easier to love and serve God, or at least profess to love and serve God, while ignoring at best or hating at worst our neighbor?
Can one love God and hate their neighbor? We see other teachings of Jesus that deny that possibility.
Was Jesus calling this man’s love of God into question, or his love for his neighbor? Obviously the man had trouble loving his neighbor. (and we know from Jesus answer, our neighbor is not only the one living next door) This man is not the only one, I need look no further than my own heart and know that is true.
KLOVE is promoting a “Go MAD” campaign of sorts. They encourage listeners to “Go MAD Mondays”, or “Go Make A Difference”. Go do something to show love, kindness and compassion for your neighbor. I enjoy listening to people call in and share what they have done in the past week to Go MAD.
I think the more often we “GO MAD!” the more our love for our neighbor will grow. And I don’t know about you but I want to live. And since loving my neighbor is part of how I will live, I’m all for it.
I know it’s Wednesday, but I’d like to issue a challenge to my readers. Let’s Go MAD! Let’s think of things we can do and then take it the next step and actually DO IT, between now and next Monday. Then on Monday, let’s blog about what we have done, what the reaction is, and how it affected us. Please make sure you leave me a comment so I can come read how you went MAD and if you need to, link back to this post.
Some simple ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru lane. Tell them “Jesus paid for them”
- Leave enough money with the barrista to buy the next customer one speciality drink
- Carry in groceries for your neighbor
- Offer to walk a dog
- Offer free babysitting to a harried, frustrated Mom
- Make something for someone else, either a meal, cake, or a craft