11 November 2012

From the Evangelist desk November 2012 edition.

Who’s my neighbour?

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Gen 1:1-2 NIV)

God created the heavens and the earth, now science tells us that we are minuet in comparison to the universe; we are just a speck in that infinite vastness. We are almost nothing compared to the vast structure of the universe. In our little world the human race feels that it is in charge of everything and in control of its own destiny, but as Christians we should not feel this way.

In the universe we look and study, but we miss who our neighbour is. Who is my neighbour? The Lord was asked what the most important commandment of them all was. And Jesus replied, 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:30-33 NIV).

So if we are agreed that the world is quite a small place in the grand scheme of things, then who should I class as my neighbour? I mean in times gone by your neighbour was the person who lived within a few houses from you, ‘them over the road’. But now days we can travel the world in a short space of time, and therefore many peoples that we never really knew existed could be classed as our neighbour.

How many of us truly love our neighbour? Do we give to the charities that ask for help feeding and schooling children in far off lands? Do we look at the news on television and distance ourselves from the starving population of the world? All these are our neighbours after all.

I feel that when the commandment was written, it was intended that the love of God should radiate from his people, showing love to all neighbours, being willing to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty and listen to the down trodden.
Our little speck in the universe can take a while to travel, for example, travelling by air from the United Kingdom to Turkey can take up to four and a half hours, but in days gone by it would take more like four and a half months, so the world has got smaller. We look at the stars and cannot count them all, but we know that our creator put them all there, serving a purpose, not just for our enjoyment to view and study. But by the same token we are often less giving to our neighbours in other countries that need our help.

We are sometimes bombarded with images on the television showing our neighbour that is struggling so much to make ends meet and even to gain the most basic of necessities. But do we really class them as our neighbour?

Remember the world is full of our neighbours, all waiting and many wanting to communicate with us. Be open and show the love of God to all peoples because I am sure that it’s what He would want us to do.

Yours in Christ.
Rick Hayes