Lately I’ve been reading a book entitled Greek for the Rest of Us. It’s a book that teaches a person to utilize the vast amounts of Greek bible study tools without actually learning to translate Greek. In the opening chapters of the book, the author explains why we have different translations and the pros and cons of each. At one point he tells a story of when the English Standard Version translation committee came to Luke 10 to translate it. The author says that many Americans will read “neighbor” and think of those who live on either side of their house, not any “fellow human being”. He ended up losing the vote and the ESV translated it “neighbor” because the verse was too well known to change.
The reason I share this story is that this highlights a common misunderstanding within Christianity. When Jesus calls us to love our neighbor he isn’t simply saying to love those who live next door (although this is part of it). He isn’t calling us to love those we like or know (although this too is part of it). Jesus is calling us to be our brother or sister’s keeper. He shares the story of the Good Samaritan to show us that our neighbor may be someone that we aren’t expecting.
The Good Samaritan helped his neighbor at his own expense and “got his hands dirty”. We live in a hurting world. One of the ways that God blesses the world is through His People loving their neighbors. We are part of God’s “relief plan” for the world.
Dear Lord, give us eyes to see who in our lives need your love and our care. Help us to use the resources that you’ve given us to change lives and love others as you’ve loved us and changed our life. Amen.