Sunday Scriptures — Who Is Your Neighbor?

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Today’s Sunday Scriptures post, Simple Truth, is written by my writer-friend, Phyllis Farringer.

I don’t remember her name. I don’t remember if I even knew it, actually. The details of a decades-old event have receded to a dusty, untended memory shelf. We occupied a waiting room at the Presidio Army hospital, both awaiting surgical outcomes. A year into our marriage, my husband needed major kidney surgery. Far from family, and miles from the Air Force Radar Site where he was stationed, I was alone. I was 19, self-absorbed, and scared. Would he lose a kidney? Would he die?

She had a young son in open-heart surgery. I don’t know why her husband wasn’t with her. We were at a military hospital. It is likely he had been deployed somewhere. I don’t know because I never asked.

What I do remember is her kindness. While she had to be concerned about her son’s serious surgery, she displayed only peace and a serene, confident spirit. She asked me about my husband. She reassured me the doctors at the Presidio were some of the best anywhere. She got coffee for me. She kept me from feeling alone. She may have spoken about God being in charge, but I’m not sure. Just her presence helped me get through the long wait.

After several hours, surgery over, the doctor assured me all was well and I could see my husband. I left the waiting room and never followed up with the woman about her son. She had lavished kindness on me and received nothing in return.

In Luke 10, Jesus was asked by an expert in the law what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked this expert to tell Him what he already knew about that from Scripture. He knew he was to love God with all his heart and love his neighbor as himself. Jesus told him his knowledge was correct. What he needed to do was live it.

The lawyer wanted to justify himself. He asked, “Who is my neighbor?”

As is often the case, Jesus didn’t answer the question that was asked; He answered the question that should have been asked: “How do we do that?” Through the parable of the Good Samaritan, He teaches us not to try to decide for whom we may or may not be responsible, but instead to be a neighbor to whomever in our path is in need.

Long ago, a stranger showed mercy and compassion to me in my need. At the time, I could have quoted the Greatest Commandment and I knew about the Good Samaritan. The difference between us then was that she was living it out. Even now, the Lord is using her example to help me understand what He is teaching me.

Phyllis Farringer delights in proclaiming God’s goodness. Her work has appeared in various periodicals including Decision Magazine, Focus on the Family publications, and Christianity Today Bible Studies. She has also written for several compilations including Cup of Comfort for Moms and God Allows U-Turns. She and her husband live in North Carolina. They have two married children and seven grandchildren.

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(Jesus said,) “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37 (NIV)

I wish you well.


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