Christ's Teaching About Beneficence
The expert answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But the expert, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” — Luke 10:27-29 NET
We cannot live alone. No one of us can be entirely independent of others. I am not only a centre, but I am part of another man’s circumference; and every other man, woman or child I know is part of my circumference. We are members one of another. In other words, we all have neighbours; and a complete human life, which has windows opening to the Infinite Creator, must have doors opening on the street towards our finite fellow-creatures.
When we talk about neighbours, we naturally think of those who live next door, and we are apt to reduce the divine command to those who reside in the same street. If these are very comfortable and well-to-do, it seems as though there is not much scope for helping them. This definition of neighbours, however, is altogether too narrow and contracted, as our Lord shows in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The lawyer asked who was his neighbour, and Jesus said, “Be a neighbour to someone else.’” And if it be asked what kind of people I am to neighbour, the answer comes: “Make no distinction of race or creed; but wherever you come across a man who has been stripped, beaten, robbed, and is half-dead, don’t wait for other men to succour him. but bind up his wounds; minister to him, and treat him as though you loved him with the natural love of brotherhood.”
A rich man might have paid an agent to patrol that dangerous road from Jerusalem to Jericho, and to look after those in distress, but it would not be so blessed in its effect on his own character, or on the men who were helped, as personal ministry would be. We ought to combine the two, because our personal experience of such cases will enable us to direct our agents, and live in their efforts, so that they may become our own. Perhaps the better policy is to get elected on the Council, or Magistrates’ bench, so that we may put down the gangs of thieves which infest life’s highways.
Remember that a gift of money is by no means the only way of helping your neighbours. What men and women need most is compassion, sympathy, your hand and heart-help. “Silver and gold have I none” has been the confession of some of the greatest benefactors of our race. Above all, it was true of our Lord Himself, who became poor that He might really help us, as He never could have done had He remained rich. Let Him be our Example, Who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.
Show me, to-day, O Lord, that one of Thy little ones to whom I am to give a cup of water in Thy Name. Amen.
Our Daily Walk - January 11
Public domain content taken from Our Daily Walk by F.B. Meyer.