Loving a Neighbor

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Mark 12:31 NLT

The note was attached to the door; the decision had been made.

At nine years of age, he was doing what most boys his age did in the summer: romping and playing. Until his sister noticed his yellow eyes. She ran inside to tell their mother who took him to the emergency room. The local hospital transferred him to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Two days later, he had a new liver.

This family was our neighbors, but we knew nothing about their tragedy. We only knew we hadn’t seen anyone home for three weeks. Initially, their youngest son did well. Then his body rejected the liver. They made several trips back and forth to Charleston, and each time we waited for an update.

During their last trip, my wife noticed the local power company tape a notice on their door. She knew what it was, caught the deliverer of bad news, and asked how much the bill was. The mom had not been able to work due to the circumstances, and the dad had missed numerous days himself. If $450 dollars wasn’t paid by the next day, their power would be turned off.

“Why don’t we take a love offering at church,” my wife asked.

Since no one but us knew the family, I didn’t know how the people would respond. But I decided to take a chance. We’d had the child on our prayer list. On Sunday morning, the church gave $406. When I announced the total at the evening services, someone quickly donated the remaining balance. As soon as the power company opened Monday morning, my wife paid the balance.

Loving my neighbor is a good feeling—whether they live right beside me or not. Doing so also helps me obey what Jesus said was the second greatest command. Only loving God with my entire being surpasses it.

Opportunities to love my neighbor—whoever and wherever they might be, abound. But like my wife, I must be attentive to the working of God’s Spirit in my innermost spirit if I’m to see them. If I live life selfishly, I’ll miss most, if not all, the opportunities God sends.

Ask God to open your eyes so you can see opportunities to love your neighbor.

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