How Jesus Is Shaping My Perspective on Being a Good Neighbor

“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Luke 10:27 (NIV)

I want to look at the parable of the good Samaritan today with a new perspective that you might not have considered before.

I’ve been living with these passages of Scripture for many months now, as I believe Jesus’ teachings on being a neighbor can transform how we all serve as Christ followers. This view also has incredible relevance for where Compassion is today as a ministry and how God is leading us into the future.

A man prays about being a good neighbor with his hands raised in the air.

Compassion President and CEO, Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, prays over our neighbors who are selflessly committed to the cause of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Let’s look at Luke 10:25–37. The passage starts with an expert in the law approaching Jesus with a question. It seems the expert was looking to justify himself when he asked the question, “Who is my neighbor?”

I find this particular exchange so compelling because of the counterintuitive nature of Jesus’ response.

In reply, Jesus tells a story about a traveler who was attacked by robbers, beaten and left alone alongside of the road. A priest and a Levite both saw him and passed by on the other side, ignoring the injured man. But a Samaritan traveling the road saw his condition, and his heart went out to him. He bandaged his wounds and led him to an inn to be cared for.

Jesus subtly but powerfully addresses the original question of “Who is my neighbor?” with a question of his own. To focus his listeners on the right thing, he asks, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor?”

Rather than providing a list of neighbors to care for, which I’m sure would have been compelling, Jesus was calling this leader to follow the example of the good Samaritan first. To be the neighbor before serving the neighbor!

an adult's hands clasp a child's hands.

In Luke 10:25–37, the expert in the law who tested Jesus was focused on what he should do. But Jesus’ reply spoke to the kind of person he should be.

Jesus was essentially challenging him to become the kind of person who would reflexively and naturally have mercy and compassion on anyone who comes his way, regardless of any human label or ethnicity.

Jesus was more concerned about the condition of his heart than his to-do list.

The expert in the law was focused on what he could do. But Jesus was focused on who he was. And that’s always the case with Jesus. He’s always more concerned with what’s going on in our hearts first. He knows that everything we do — for good or bad — flows out of that.

What that tells me is that in our collective ministry to disciple children, we must first be disciples ourselves. We cannot give what we do not have.

And I believe the more we live out the truth of this parable, the more we will be able to realize our true God-given potential to serve children in poverty. Emulating that good neighbor will help us best serve other neighbors with the right heart and in the right way.

The most significant contribution you can make to those around you is not anything you do. It’s the kind of person — or the kind of neighbor — you are becoming in Christ. That’s what will unlock your ability to serve neighbors in profound, life-changing ways.

So, what kind of neighbor would people around you say that you are?

At Compassion, we’re working to become a neighbor-centric ministry from top to bottom. That includes finding ways to super-serve all of the neighbors God has placed before us: our children, front-line church partners, supporters, workforce and other ministry partners.

We also know that each one of us individually can never become that kind of neighbor unless we put Jesus in charge of that journey.

Three children run in a field wearing traditional Peruvian clothing.

We cannot grow a ministry to disciple children if we are not first disciples ourselves.

With Jesus fully in charge of our hearts, we will be able to realize our true God-given potential to reach the most children possible, through best serving the neighbors who partner with us in this cause.

Just think what God can do through an unstoppable movement of Jesus-following child advocates sacrificially loving the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, strength and minds, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of the children, may it be so.

Learn more about how the teachings of Jesus shape our work as we serve children in Jesus’ name.

7 Comments |Add a comment

  1. enocK February 5, 2021

    – being the neighbor before serving the neighbor!
    – teachings of Jesus shape our work

  2. Carol Scoville October 28, 2019

    Dear amazing Compassion:
    I am an old (but active) great grandma…living on social security. My income is “not generous” at best, but I am faithful to my 3 Compassion children.
    I cannot afford to pay to make the trip to see one of MY children in his homeland! How sad for HIM as well as me…as others will certainly
    visit there. I cannot give the families of my 3 children a $100
    OR MORE, family Christmas gift as suggested though many family’s WILL receive that from their children’s sponsor.
    And so I can pray only that somehow the good Lord will hug my 3 children and they will remember how much I love them!!!
    And THANK YOU for all you do for so VERY many youngsters!!! You make a huge difference!
    Carol Scoville

  3. Alta Benson October 23, 2019

    How blessed we all are as we open our hearts , minds ,souls and spirits and embrace His message with responding – here am I-use me in Your Will.

  4. Bonnie P. Jones October 23, 2019

    I saw Compassion making neighbors in the speech of the teen-aged young man we sponsored in India when I urged him not to get involved in terrorism, especially Isis. His response to me was, ” don’t worry about me – I belong to the Lord.” I was flabbergasted! Thanks be to God for Compassion and it’s saving work. We are all neighbors! Love, Bonnie Jones

  5. Kim October 23, 2019

    A powerful teaching. Lord help me to be a good neighbor.

  6. Jane Ruth M wanyama October 23, 2019

    Thank you for unpacking the message of the samaritan in a very extraordinary way. Self assessment of my personal relationship with Christ is really profound. From the Scripture, “Go and do like wise” has ministered to me afresh.
    To our leader Jimmy, thank you for speaking to hearts allover the world.

  7. Nelson Gartor October 22, 2019

    To God be the glory the most high. Thanks for your wonderful great have open my mind on this great teaching our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
    Thanks for this great teaching.
    Made the blessings of the Lord Almighty God be with you and your family and organization.

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