Sunday, August 8, 2021

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Being a Good Neighbor

One of the major property and life insurers has a tagline that sums up today’s message, “like a good neighbor”. As Christians, we’re called upon to be exactly that, good neighbors. As such, we have certain responsibilities to fulfill that are called out in Scripture. It is not enough to say we believe in the teachings of the Bible. We must also act in accordance to its teachings as they are laid out before us. We, as children of the most holy God, must follow those teachings to the letter. When you read them, they are not impossible at all to follow. But, when you try to put them into practice, that is quite another thing.

For example, during natural disasters such as hurricanes and pandemics, I have seen when people begin to hoard essential items that others will need. When you think about it, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, states that people should have three days of supplies for each person in the household. Why do they tell us that? The answer is simple. Organizations like FEMA and non-profit organizations like the American Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse and many others come to the aid of communities that need help. They mobilize and muster what is needed to help those who are dealing with the loss of everything they have.

Look at it this way. It boils down to neighbors helping neighbors. In communities all around the world, people come together in times of disaster or distress and work together. I have personally seen it many times in my life. In big situations like fires, tornadoes and hurricanes, people around the world donate food, money or whatever they can spare to help those who have been stricken by disaster. On a smaller scale, I have seen people on an airplane stranded on the tarmac sharing food and drink with others. It is a sight to behold to watch people working and sharing together in order to get through some tough and trying times. 

In chapter thirteen of his epistle to the Romans, Paul writes, “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.’ These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.

When we love one another and take care of each other, we fulfill the requirements of God’s law. We are instructed not only to love God but also to love one another. It is through that love that God is able to live in us and show His love to others through our unselfish actions.

John, in chapter four of his first epistle, tells us, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

By helping those in need and caring for them, we show them and the entire world that we are truly the children of God and that we not only believe but also demonstrate our faith by helping and loving everyone.

When churches come to the aid of a community stricken by a catastrophe, they do not ask if you are a believer or if you are a member of a particular church or denomination. They will share with you what they have and more. When I speak of more, they will be there to listen and provide words of comfort. Just having a person there to listen is so very therapeutic and helps in beginning the healing process.

Some organizations provide teddy bears to the children who have gone through a tragedy. Once again, that simple little gesture of kindness is the first step in healing and helping that child start a long journey of rebuilding a shattered life.

If you have never volunteered to help at a local food bank, I highly encourage you to do so. It will definitely fill your heart with love. When the pandemic hit our country hard, many lost their jobs and were forced, maybe for the first time, to accept help from others. I saw many people who didn’t have food asking for help. It was embarrassing for some, but people smiled and helped and made it a lot easier for those who had never found themselves standing in line for food.

Think about how different the world would be if we just learned to love one another and take care of one another. It would be such a better place.

There have been times when I have been walking in hospitals or clinics and have had the opportunity to help others. Some didn’t have the money to pay for their prescriptions and then get home. In those cases, I have made sure to help them by taking care of their needs. 

Years ago, I was a pastor of a small congregation who gave to our ministry with the goal of helping others in the community. I used their donations to help pay for transportation to and from a clinic and for medication. The first time I had that opportunity was in a small clinic. A woman with a small child who needed antibiotics for an ear infection was crying at the clinic’s pharmacy. She didn’t have the $10 for the medication. She was frantically counting the crumpled up dollar bills and all the change she could find. She was literally in tears. I walked up and asked what was the problem and the pharmacy technician recognized me. She told me that the young woman didn’t have the money for the prescription.

I put my hand on her shoulder and said, “Don’t worry another minute.”

I reached into my wallet and pulled out the checkcard from our ministry account and paid for the prescription. Her tears of sorrow soon became tears of joy. She was so grateful for the help. 

God gives us the opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives. We need to act and show not only the people in need the love of God but also the world that God truly is love.

In chapter fourteen of the Book of Proverbs, it is written, “It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.

When we help those who are in need, we are blessed by God and we build treasures for ourselves in Heaven. That is our reward for truly being followers of Christ Jesus. So, when you have a chance to be a good neighbor who loves others, take that opportunity to show the world God’s love in action. By doing that, you will be blessed and can stand firm in His grace

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. 

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