Friday, August 27, 2010

"FAN THE FLAME" FRIDAY - Neighbor

Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence, or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: neighbor

Who is your neighbor?
What can you do to reach out to them - to show them God's love?

"[Jesus replied]...The second [commandment] is equally important:
'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " (Mark 12:31)

Let me know what you think!!


“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

7 comments:

  1. Hi Sharon,

    Those living in my community are my immediate neighbors. Often when I barbeque, I will share with my neighbors. I've made pastry, and given fresh fruit. I also pray for my neighbors, particularly when they share a circumstance they're facing.

    Blessings and peace.

    MTJ

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  2. Hi Sharon. I like this idea of one word for me to ponder. Good work!

    Who is my neighbor? I think anyone who my life does or can touch. It's overwhelming to think that this could mean everyone - globally too.

    I can love my neighbors locally by trying to listen and accept more than I speak or judge. I can give financially and of material goods to local organizations and shelters, or help someone - whether it's holding their screaming infant so they can have a break, or helping them spring clean their home.

    I can reach out to my neighbors online by sharing my God-walk online and offering encouraging words. I can love my neighbor globally by giving of finances to outreaches like Gospel for Asia and World Vision, supporting missionaries, buying fair trade products, and praying for those missionaries who are persecuted or for those communities who live in darkness and despair.

    I try to do these things often and consistently. I forget, I choose to look the other way, or even get overwhelmed when it becomes about me saving the world instead of me serving God.

    Overall though, God is teaching me to be generous of spirit - willing to put myself aside for my neighbor. Sounds easy, but this is - at least for me - a life long work I'm sure.

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  3. My neighbor is anyone I come in contact with, regardless if they live close by me or I encounter them only once at the store or in traffic, etc. Its treating everyone with respect and how I would want to be treated, with a kind word, a smile, helping them if you can, allowing them ahead of you in the checkout line at the store if they have only a few items and your cart is overflowing, its looking out to help someone reach for something on a top shelf, so much more. But my neighbor is anyone I encounter and especially those that others might not want to have anything to do with, the least, the lost, the last as my pastor always says, like homeless people, people in prison, etc

    hope you have a great weekend :)

    betty

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  4. I agree with the others...my neighbor is anyone God places in my path...whether physically or not...and I need to be ready to be the Lord's hands and feet....

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  5. I was chatting this up with the husband just now over dinner.

    I agree with others that our neighbor is anyone we cross in the path.

    I can't help but think, though, that Jesus chose very specifically to say "neighbor" here and not "brother" as he did other places or even "the least of these" as he did in others.

    Most would agree that this means that a neighbhor MIGHT or might NOT share the faith. After all, Jesus answered the question "Who is my neighbor" with the story of the Good Samaritan.

    But it also makes me think that my neighbor MIGHT or might NOT be destitute or otherwise the "least of these." My neighbhor is as much the guy who "has it all together" as much as he is the starving or homeless.

    My commandment is to love (is that agape there? I haven't looked...) him or her in the same manner that I love myself, to respond to them the same way that I would respond to my own need.

    I can't ignore a muscle strained by overwork. I do what I can to relieve that strain. The same principle applies to that which causes pain or strain in our neighbor, right?

    I'm rambling.

    And I'm not negating or disagreeing with a single word written here.

    I'm just expanding them to include even those who do not need our physical or financial help but are our neighbor nonetheless.

    The difficult ones in our path.
    The lonely ones.
    The deluded and deceived.
    The condescending ones.
    The fakes.
    The scared ones... etc.

    I'll stop now. I would love to be saying this is person. I express myself so much better verbally. Sigh.

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  6. You have all had such meaningful responses - both in how you have defined the word "neighbor," and in the many ways you have articulated actual, tangible ways to reach out.

    You know, I've been "chewing" on this word/concept "neighbor" for a couple of days now. Your comments have sparked some deep thinking for me.

    Let me start by saying this - Debbie, I looked up the word for "LOVE" here - it is the Greek verb "agapao" which I assume comes from the root word for the noun "agape" - so yes, it does mean something deeper than a "casual love."

    I also agree that the word has implications both locally and globally. Thanks, Kimberly, for your insights on expanding the idea of "neighbor" - and I really liked how you included the online world, too.

    One of the things that really struck me as I pondered all this, was the importance that Jesus Himself put on this COMMAND. It was said "in the same breath," if you will, as the command to love God. Jesus placed a HIGH priority on loving our "neighbors."

    I'd like to pick one thought from each of your comments that really spoke to me -

    MTJ -I liked your idea that praying for our neighbors is also a way to love them.

    Kimberly - Your phrase "God is teaching me to be generous of spirit" - I thought that was great. We can (and should) give of ourselves, not just our time and money.

    Betty - I liked how you picked somewhere as "everyday" as the market as a place where you can show kindness to a "neighbor."

    Karen - "I need to be the Lord's hands and feet" - that is the truth! I am learning more and more that WE are the ones who take Jesus to others, in the power of His Holy Spirit.

    Debbie - Friend, you expressed yourself JUST FINE! You brought another dimension into the discussion - and I especially liked your list at the end. Sometimes, a neighbor's "neediness" is well-hidden behind a facade...

    So, I may end up doing some kind of post on this subject - it's worth thinking about - especially when the thinking leads to some doing...AMEN??!!

    Thanks, everyone, for a really interesting Friday - you truly "fanned MY flame!!"

    GOD BLESS!!

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"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)