Selfless Acts of Neighborly Kindness

Drew Causey, Pastor of Worship and Discipleship at Hope Community Church, sent in this moving article on how his family, who lives in Louisiana, was helped so selflessly in the severe flooding and how we can bring that selfless action back here to Lawrenceburg:

I have lived in Kentucky for ten years. In Lawrenceburg for four of those years. But I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, one of a number of towns that has been in the headlines this week because of severe flooding. My family is one of thousands that have lost almost everything in this flood, and in the midst of all of the turmoil and chaos, my family has seen their community find hope and resolve through selfless acts of neighborly kindness. They saw this kindness as neighbors came by boat to pick them up at their front door step and bring them to a shelter. Their hope grew as strangers made room for them in their cars so they could get from the shelter to my brother’s house. They found community in warm meals, in hot showers, in the embraces the received from strangers who just wanted to comfort them. Through all of the hardship of the past week, my family survived because my family had neighbors around them who chose to be neighborly in their time of need.

I am a follower of Jesus, so hearing my parents recount their story over the last few days has reminded me of how close loving our neighbors is to the heart of God. There is a story in the life of Jesus where one of the experts of the day tried to test Jesus to see how well he understood the Jewish law. They asked him what they would have to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus turned the question around on them: “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” Their response? To simplify it, they say loving God and loving your neighbor. Jesus agrees.  These two things sum up everything, and are often referred to together as the great commandment.

But in Luke’s account, the conversation doesn’t end there. The expert responds with a question: “And who is my neighbor?” What a loaded question! Luke offers that the expert asks this question to justify himself. To make himself look right and good (and don’t we all love looking good, especially in the eyes of Jesus!). But it is an interesting question. A question worth considering, especially in light of how Jesus answers the expert.

Who is your neighbor? How would you answer this? Who do you consider to be your neighbors in Lawrenceburg?

When Jesus answers the expert, he does so with a story, not just a reply. He tells the story of a man who is beaten and left for dead by robbers on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Most experts of the law would consider this man their neighbor because he was a fellow Jew. Yet this man was approached and passed over by a priest. And again by one of the workers in the temple. Only the third man, a Samaritan, who no Jewish person would consider their neighbor, saw the man and acted in compassion to bind him up and make sure he was given care. After telling this story, Jesus asks: “Which of these men proved to be a neighbor to the man who was robbed?” The answer: the one who showed mercy.

I bring this story up only to highlight what I have seen in my parents lives this week. Neighbors are not just the people who live in proximity to you. They are the people who come to your aid in the moments you are in need. And often, this has little to do with your relationship with them. The Samaritan didn’t know the man on the road; he only knew that he needed help. My parents were picked up in boats and helped by a number of people, many of whom they didn’t know. And in those moments, those strangers became their neighbors.

I have lived in Kentucky for ten years, in Lawrenceburg for four of those years. Who are my neighbors? Or perhaps a better question would be: to whom have I been compassionate and neighborly? And who have I welcomed to be compassionate and neighborly to me? If I am honest, the list is too small to mention. That really needs to change. I believe Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan to expose the ways the expert in the Law was completely missing the world around him. I think it is doing the same in me, and could in all of us if we welcome it to do so.

I am going to write a few more posts on this story in the upcoming weeks, but I want to end today with a request. I want to hear stories from you about how others have been a good neighbor to you. I know Lawrenceburg has good neighbors in it. One of the ways we can be thankful for them is by sharing their stories. Feel free to leave a story about a good neighbor in the comments. Let’s celebrate and be thankful for the strangers who became neighbors to us, and look for ways to do so for others.

 

-Drew Causey is a husband, a father, and the Pastor of Worship and Discipleship at Hope Community Church. He married a Lawrenceburg girl (Catherine Detherage) in 2010, and together they now have three very energetic boys.

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Posted in Faith & Values.

2 Comments

  1. I live in the county and my direct neighbors are great. But God’s favor goes beyond my actual neighbors. I could tell u so many stories. From the lady in line at McDonald’s who paid for my and my kids food to a joyce Meyer conference in missouri. Where i experienced an out pouring of God’s favor from the people while i was there. Isn’t our God awesome! Drew i love how describe yourself as a follower of Jesus. Because it’s so easy for us to say i believe in jesus, but it is much more than that. So, thank you for bringing that to light. Always stay humble and kind is a new song that is out. May we all always stay humble and kind and let Jesus bring us through whatever it is we face. Have a great day everyone.

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