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Loving Our Neighbors Better Through Home Repair

Have you ever dissected the conversation between the teacher of the law and Jesus in Luke 10:25-37 (the Good Samaritan passage)? The guy started by asking how to have eternal life. So Jesus asked him what the Law said and he quoted the Scripture about loving God most of all and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus responded, "Do this and you will live." This did not satisfy the man, so he asked a qualifying question: "And who is my neighbor?" It seems pretty clear that the man thought he could justify himself, but just to make sure he understood how far he must go, or to establish the minimum number of people he had to love, he challenged Jesus this way. Have you ever thought like this? I plead guilty and still fight it today.

Jesus then goes into the story of the good Samaritan. I won't get into all of that as you've probably heard plenty of sermons and Sunday school lessons on it and I hope you will read it again, today. The shocking thing was how Jesus turned the tables on the guy. Instead of establishing how to exactly define a neighbor to limit responsibility, Jesus asked, "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be the neighbor to the man who fell among robbers?". To this the man answered, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus closed the exchange by exhorting him, "You go and do likewise." Easy - all the guy had to do was love the people who needed his help, within his capacity to serve.

Helping Hand

from freeimages.com, Michael Illuchine

This exchange screams two things to me. First, I have not loved many who needed me that I could have helped. When I did help, most often, I did not serve them the way I would have served myself. Second, I have not met the requirements of the Law that Jesus laid out. Unless God provides me mercy in the sin department, I will not be with him for eternity. He has provided the only way through the One that could meet the full requirements of the Law, Jesus - Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, Immanuel (God with us). He has purchased my salvation and paid my sin debt in full. I claim the payment by repenting for my lack of love for God and man, trust in His completed work at the cross, and have committed to live under the control of the Holy Spirit so that Christ might be seen in me. I have done it very poorly. He has done His part perfectly and it didn't matter how badly I'd failed before I trusted Him, and when I come up short today, it is just as much covered by Jesus' sacrifice than at first. But there has been a wonderful and terrible change in my heart - I want to live in a way that shouts, "THANK YOU!" to my Savior. He's told us in this passage that loving God (which includes my best but still lousy efforts at obedience) and loving my neighbor as myself, say it appropriately. When all is said and done, the only righteousness I will ever have is Jesus. As Steve Brown says, "Cheer up, you're worse than you think you are." And that's true. But despite all of this He still loves me. Wow!

Providing home repairs is a wonderful outreach ministry opportunity and a way to say, "Thank you" to God. It's also a way to love my neighbor better (even if not yet quite to the level as I love myself). Would you like to join me? Are you wired to start or lead a home repair ministry in your local church? Are you a handy man or woman looking for a way to serve and love God and others? We can help you get started! No-cost church ministry resources

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