Jonathan at “Missio Dei” has written another excellent post called “Love Your Neighbor“. In the post, he recalls a conversation in which someone was struggling with the enormous number of issues that affect us and the world around us every day. Jonathan says:
[T]he temptation is to want to solveâ€¦every problem. Things press on us. They shout at our faceâ€¦NOTICE ME. Itâ€™s hard not to want to notice, to give real issues our time and attention. Iâ€™ve often thought of throwing it all to the wind and serving as a missionary in a war torn country. Iâ€™ve actually looked into work for NGOâ€™s and positions at the UN. But ultimately I didnâ€™t feel called.
And as I stood there listening to my friend, I began to wonder if Jesus was somehow taking a weight from us when he said, â€œLove your neighbor.â€ What if we needed the reminder that weâ€™re not called to solve every problem. We canâ€™t. Heâ€™s simply asking us to love right where weâ€™re at, to bring love to those we are already in relationship with. These are the people we are most likely to bring restoration to. These are the people we are most likely to touch in a significant way.
What if weâ€™re not called to solve all the worlds problems? Just the ones that weâ€™re called to. And they live right next door.
I can’t end world hunger. But, I can provide food for a neighbor who is in need. I can’t free the oppressed of the world. But, I can help a neighbor who is struggling to find a job or start over after a difficult situation. I can’t solve all of the world’s problems. But, I can listen to and care for the neighbor who is struggling, discouraged, depressed, or lonely.
But, in order to love my neighbor, I must know my neighbor.