Jesus said in Matthew 22 that the whole Bible is boiled down to two things:
Matthew 22:37 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor (the loner, the talker, the grouch, the giver) as yourself. (ESV)
The term “neighbor” that Jesus used here was not ambiguous. It simply meant: those in close proximity. Those whom Jesus has put in your path.
Today, let’s talk about the Art of Loving Your Neighbor!
Luke 10:5 “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ 6 If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. 7 Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide….10 But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’
When we put this spiritual concept in the context of our neighborhood, it is the:
The Art of Focusing
We can’t be BEST friends with everyone. You don’t have the time or energy to invest in everyone equally. We don’t have the capacity for deep relationships with everyone.
Jesus was intentional about how he spent his time. Throughout the Gospels Jesus was repeatedly focused on small groups of people so he could invest in their lives in big ways.
How do you determine WHO to spend the most time with? Start with Meeting EVERYONE, Learn names, Become acquainted with some, Pray, Follow natural patterns of connections AND… Look for People of Peace.
A Person of Peace is someone hospitable and open to becoming a friend. Once the disciples found a person of peace, Jesus told his followers to stay with that person. Don’t worry about wide impact. Focus on deep impact.
Notice, a person of peace didn’t mean: a Christian, or sinner, or agnostic, or certain race or creed.