Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?” He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?” He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.” Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?” – Luke 10:25-29 Message Bible; paraphrase
The Parable of the Good Shepherd is known by most people whether they believe in the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus- or not. For something so well known, it is so easily, and regularly missed- the meaning. Love is a verb, it means DOING. John 3:16 says clearly that for God so loved the world that He did something about it! It wasn’t fun, it didn’t feel good, it wasn’t what HE wanted to do. It was painful, it was sacrificial, it was uncomfortable, it was agonizing to the degree that we created a NEW WORD for it; excruciating!
Leader, what are the qualities of your neighbor? These are people who live by you. You see them daily, you pass them weekly, you hear them regularly, you make eye contact with them normally. Your neighbor is the person RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, to the SIDE of you, BEHIND you- perceptually in your readily available universe.
Conduit, God is saying clearly; SEE A NEED, MEET A NEED! You don’t need to go half way around the world to LOVE like JESUS loved! Have eyes to see and ears to hear. When you are hungry you eat, when you are thirsty you drink, when you have a need you take care of that need—that is how you LOVE YOURSELF. Open your eyes, LISTEN UP; SEE a NEED, then MEET that NEED; neighbor!