Loving Your Neighbor in Practical Ways

This Sunday, the text I’m using is from Matthew 22:34-40. I used this same passage last week and focused on loving God. This week, we’ll be focusing on the “second” of the greatest commandments…loving our neighbors.

I’m fully convinced that one of the clearest ways we communicate our love for God is the way we love our neighbors.

I’m also fully convinced that we best love our neighbors when we show our love in practical and tangible ways. In other words, we can’t simply claim to love our neighbors. We have to actually love them, demonstrated in not only our words, but also through our actions.

How many of us have been in situations where our “neighbors” have shared a very specific need and we simply respond with a “well, I’ll be sure to keep you in my prayers”?

Now, I’m not saying that our prayers aren’t good…I’m just saying that if we can offer practical help to our neighbor, that just might be the answer to their prayers!

James 2:14-17 speaks to this concept. If your neighbor is thirsty, don’t offer a prayer…give them a drink! In some ways, loving our neighbors in practical ways is simply common sense. If you hear of a need and can actually do something about it, well, do something!

Romans 12:20 (quoting Proverbs 25) takes this a step further, demonstrating how far our love for neighbors should go. Not only are we called to love the neighbors we like, we are called to demonstrate love through outward acts of service to our enemies. So, if you bump into a Cardinals or Reds fan, and they are hungry or thirsty, rather than passing judgment and saying that they deserve it as a result of their allegiance to these lousy baseball teams, give them something to eat and drink!

1 John 4:7-21 really lays it on the line. We are called to love because God loved first. Our natural response to God’s love should be to love all that God loves…which is everyone! So, when we withhold our love for others, are we truly loving God? If we say we love God, but hold hatred towards another, are we truly loving God?

So, on Sunday, I’ll be talking about some simple and practical ways we can demonstrate our love for God by the way we love one another (even our enemies) through acts of service.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “everyone can be great because everyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t even have to make your subject and your verb agree…You only need a heart full of grace…a soul generated by love.”

May our hearts be filled with grace and our “souls generated by love.”

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