Who is Our Neighbor?
How can we hope to help those in need as we are instructed by the words and actions of Jesus? First, start slow. Consider small beginnings that are steadfast. For example, I have a friend who visits and takes care of an elderly woman once a week and helps troubleshoot websites, then there are those who visit The LightHouse every week to help tutor residents from Africa and Afghanistan, there are also the daily volunteers who package and send relief aid for those in need. Then there are the healthcare providers who serve despite the harm that might befall themselves. And let us not forget about the volunteers packing life saving meals. All these individuals make a specific agenda item in their appointment book and follow through.
If we are still unsure of how we can start servings others, we can read about model individuals of faith who started with small beginnings. For example; life at the girls’ school in India was fulfilling enough until Anges Bojaxhiu received “a message” in 1946. “Quit the cloistered existence and go serve the poor in the “slums” of Calcutta. It was a divine call from the Lord. Although she had no food or money, she was steadfast in her commitment. It was from these small beginnings that a crusade was started that earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for Mother Teresa. From collecting abandoned babies out of the garbage to building leprosariums, the Missionaries of Charity are committed to serving others. The order functions worldwide with 1,800 nuns, 250 brothers, and thousands of volunteers and workers serving in 30 countries.
It’s easy to conclude that the task of the world’s pain is so vast that we cannot make a dent in its suffering. But such thinking gives us an excuse for doing nothing. Being neighborly does not mean we have to meet every need we see. But if an individual, church, organization, or cause becomes a nucleus for action, then we can make a difference that will outlive us all…just like the small beginnings of Mother Teresa.
Now let us go and do likewise. We will be amazed at what can be accomplished when we work together as the Lord has called us to do!