....."Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second one is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself' There is no commandment greater than these." -Mark 12:30,31
The first commandment is impossible to keep without paying mind to the second one.
We can love God through prayer.
We can love God in song.
We can love God by reading the Bible.
We can love God and be inside those church walls every time the door is opened.
But when verse 3o says with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, he's saying -Love me with all that you say, with all you do, with all that you have, with all that you are. Our saying and doing involves people, like our neighbors. So just who are our neighbors?
Every teacher could answer this question. When I was teaching and had the children seated I would sometimes pose a question. "Why do you think it is helpful for lizards to change their color?-Discuss this with your neighbor." Walking to lunch or PE I would remind the children before walking down the hall, "No talking to your neighbor". And at lunchtime, "You may whisper to your neighbor". You can have neighbors that you keep, but neighbors change too. A person's neighbor is whoever is near.
It's hard to tangibly love God when we can't see him or touch him. That's why I think it's brilliant that he calls us to love him through loving others; our neighbors. With this being the case, we have opportunity to love him in the most tangible of ways.
I think there are two kinds of neighbors.
Heart Neighbors are those like my Kenyan girls I mentioned in yesterday's post, "Sharing Shoes, Sharing Life". Though I spent little time with them, they will always be near and dear to my heart. Jason and I have moved farther from family and old friends with each move. We still communicate with these heart neighbors; we visit them now and then, we pray for them and have lovely memories which keep them close to our heart. I have three little heart neighbors in the rooms surrounding my bedroom walls. I hope to be able to make heart neighbors someday with someone on the other side of this screen; someone who is willing to share their experiences. Many heart neighbors stay with us throughout our lives.
Geographic Neighbors are constantly changing. You can go crazy with this. A geographic neighbor could be the person in the lane beside you in their car. How do you love that neighbor? By not honking at them or by not being in such a hurry that you cut them off. I learned from a geographic neighbor last week, a cashier at Wal-Mart, that she has five children and is going to night school in addition to her full-time job. I learned this by simply asking how her day was going. Giving high fives to children, smiling in passing, taking cookies to someone across the street, sitting with someone having a rough time, and sharing a word of encouragement to those we come into contact with are some of the most beautiful ways to love God.
A Geographic Neighbor could be the most unlikely neighbor, love them anyway. It's the unlikely ones that often become heart neighbors.
"Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to me."-Matthew 25:40
It's time to start a world-sized block party. -So many people to love. Smile at your neighbor. Strike up a conversation. Don't be shy. Let's get out there
-There's so much of God to love.
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