Who’s Your Neighbor? From Fox Creek Christian Church

Mark Wells, lead minister at Fox Creek Christian Church, was inspired by the snow and how community support has changed through the years.  Questioning on who is really your neighbor, Mark wrote this moving article about what it really means help your neighbor:

We’ve really been spoiled this winter, seriously 70 degree December days are not really the norm for our little community.  It was nice while it lasted, but we all knew that winter was going to come eventually, and it did.  The temperatures dropped and along with it came the white stuff.  This week we were hit with the first real snow storm of the year. Everyone was waiting in anticipation of what the weather forecasters claimed would be “Snowmageddon 2016.”

Folks flooded the grocery stores in search of bread, milk, eggs and toilet paper.  Men, women and children scoured the aisles of local supermarkets for all kinds of junk foods, snack foods and even healthy alternative foods.  Check-out lines snaked through aisles and around the stores.  People waited for nearly an hour just to purchase chips, salsa, cereal and peanut butter.  Snow shovels and snow sleds were a highly sought after commodities.  Children’s dreams of whooshing down steep hills and grown-ups nightmares of moving several metric tons of the frozen precipitation were all dashed at the sound of those five words spoken by sales associates at every store within a six county radius, “Sorry, we’re all sold out!”  The kids improvised with storage container lids, cardboard boxes and even cattle feed troughs while the adults wiped the relieved look off their faces and paid local teenagers $20 to do the job for them.

This winter isn’t much different from the hundreds that have come before.  Oh, the kids seem a little less likely to spend 12 hours out in the snow building snowmen, snow forts and sliding down hills. Many kids have exchanged bread sack lined boots for four wheelers and atvs. As for the adults, a big snow storm a hundred years ago in Lawrenceburg and Anderson County wouldn’t have seen its residents taking pictures to post to Facebook and Instagram.  Of course those things didn’t exist a hundred years ago, residents would have been much more concerned about making sure they had enough fuel, coal or wood to keep the family warm as the temperatures plummeted.  They would be concerned about making sure the live stock was fed, had plenty of warm dry bedding and that they had enough food from the root cellar to last a few days.  Then they may have even grabbed that little bit of sugar, little bit of cream and little bit of vanilla they had stored away to make that beloved winter concoction known as “snowcream.”

Things have changed because times have changed.  In many places people have become so concerned with themselves that they have no time for anyone else.  In many cities, people have no idea who their neighbors are, and they could really care less.  As a kid, I remember shoveling the driveways of a dozen neighbors and never asking for a penny.  They were our neighbors, and we knew if we needed anything, all we had to do was walk next door or across the street and ask, and they would give it to us or help us with whatever our task was.

Today we are more “connected” then we have ever been in the history of the world, but we are less connected to each other.  We watch old Andy Griffith reruns of Andy, Opie, Aunt Bea, Barney and any number of other Mayberry residents sitting on the front porch on a Sunday afternoon waving at the passing neighbors and say, yeah, but that’s a bygone day.  But when did we disconnect from our neighbors?  When did we become more familiar with the man that lives halfway around the world than we are with the guy that shares a property line with us, or the lady that lives two streets over that we see at the grocery store every week.  When did we start having deeper conversations with the computer support technician from India than we do with that man who’s kid has been in our kid’s classroom for the past three years?

During Jesus’ ministry the religious leaders of the day tried several times to trip Him up with tricky questions that would prove He wasn’t the Messiah.  In Luke 10:25-29 Jesus was confronted by one of these religious men.  “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’  ‘What is written in the Law?’ He replied. ‘How do you read it?’  He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’  But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”

This expert in the law asked Jesus a very good question, “Who is my neighbor?”  If we live in Lawrenceburg, is our neighbor only the people that live in the houses on either side of us, or on our street or only those that live within the city limits?  If we live in the county are our neighbors only those that we pass as we drive up and down our roads?  Jesus went on to tell a story of a Jewish man that was traveling down a road and was attacked, beaten, robbed and left for dead.  A couple of this man’s “neighbors” saw him lying there and did nothing to help him, but a Samaritan, a man from an ethnic group that was hated by the Jews, came by, saw him, helped him and took very good care of him.  In Luke 10:36-37 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.”

I’m proud to live in a community that has a pretty good understanding of what it means to be a “neighbor.”  Do we still have some work to do?  Sure we do, we could all do better at reaching out to our “neighbor.”  The concept isn’t something that’s from a bygone era, and is something that should never go out of style.  Our neighbor is anyone from the human race.  Our neighbor is the people that live next to us, on our street, in our city, county, state, country and around the world.  Our neighbor is that person that needs help, that needs a kind word, that needs someone that will sit on the front porch and spend some time with them.  Our neighbor is that person that talks with the same Anderson County twang we do, or talks with a hard to understand accent that comes from the northern side of the Mason/Dixon Line or even that person that looks different from us and speaks with a foreign tongue.  That’s our neighbor.  Be a neighbor, help someone out that is having trouble cleaning their driveway off and may not have the money to pay to have it done.  Run to the store for someone that can’t get there themselves.  Invite someone to come over for dinner and maybe a nice bowl of “snowcream” and make sure you share a little hope, a little faith and a little love with them.  After all that’s what Jesus said, “Do this and you will live.”

 

Written by Mark Wells, Lead Minister at Fox Creek Christian Church.mark

Mark grew up at Fox Creek and has served on staff at Fox Creek Christian Church since January of 2010. Mark graduated from Kentucky State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and is working on his Masters Degree in Theology. Mark is married to his wife, Shanda and together they have 2 children Mickenzie and Hunter. You can email Mark at Mark@foxcreekchristian.com.

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