Who Is My Neighbor?
I was recently interviewed for a magazine where the writer asked me, “If you had to cite ONE example of how ballroom dancing has impacted your work life, what would that be?” Okay, if you’re a new reader to my blog, you’re probably confused. Yes, I’m a competitive ballroom dancer, and very passionate about it! I can’t even tell you how hard it was to answer this question by narrowing it down to one example!
When Jesus was tested on his knowledge of the scripture and put on the spot by spiritual leaders to answer the important question of “What is the greatest commandment?", Jesus replied with not one commandment but two, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22: 34-40
One of the better known parables of Jesus is the story of The Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10:25-37. There were two pivotal questions brought to Jesus by the spiritually educated leaders listening to him that day, and he chose to answer them through this parable. These questions, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” and “Who is my neighbor?” ties together the commitment of loving God by loving people.
I see this parable lived out every day by my community in Tulsa. A family who has been physically and emotionally beaten and financially robbed by a devastating medical crisis seeking healing and hope in a metro city they are not familiar with, surrounded by strangers. These medical families are not found where most Tulsans visit, but instead are found in a place we rarely go, hospital waiting rooms. Just like the first two people who crossed paths with the injured man in the parable, we can look at these families and pass by them. After all, they are not from Tulsa, so they aren’t like us, they are different. Because of our busy schedules, we really can’t take the time to help them right now.
But instead of accepting those excuses, I see a community who has taken the time to bring them to a place where they can rest, find hope, and support their hospitalized patient. In doing so, they have also rescued them from the financial burden associated with a medical crisis away from home. These donors provide comfortable lodging, meals, clean laundry, transportation, and prayer support. But how do they do all this? They followed the example in this parable. They send the families to the inn keeper, or in this case, The Hospitality House of Tulsa, where the staff and volunteers lovingly care for these medical families. And who are these amazing donors? We call them Care Keepers. Why? Because they also follow the example in the parable by donating the funds needed to care for the devastated traveler, with a continued commitment to come back and give again and again each month to help further.
Jesus concluded his parable with another important question, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
If you would like to join us in showing Biblical hospitality to strangers and become a Care Keeper or volunteer at the Hospitality House, visit us at: www.HHTulsa.org or call 918-794-0088 x 202.