Tonight, Mike Glenn spoke about the disciples on the road to Emmaus and how they failed to recognize Jesus because so often the last place we look for Jesus is right where we are. Jesus showed the highest compliment to his disciples when he called them friends and proved it when he laid down his life for these friends.
We are called to do the same. We are called to walk alongside people and be their friend, not for any gain or for any return, but simply for the sake of friendship. Even if the other person shows no inclination toward your viewpoint and wants nothing to do with your God, you are still called to be a friend.
The example Jesus showed us is that a friend is a friend, regardless. I can never give up on a friend because Jesus never gave up on me even though he had plenty of opportunities and reasons to do so.
We’re also called to be neighbors. Not in the sense of location, but in the sense of hospitality. The Good Samaritan parable shows us that the definition of a neighbor is someone who has a need that we have the power to meet, regardless of whether that person looks like us, acts like us, or believes us. Regardless of whether that person is likable or not.
I can’t remember where I heard it before and I’m sure I’ve shared it before, but I love the idea that Jesus is the ultimate neighbor. I was the one lying beaten and bloody on the side of the road, half dead. Jesus was the only one to stop and help me. He was the only one who paid for my care.
So, the challenge tonight is to be a friend and a neighbor. Not necessarily to shove my faith down anyone’s throat or prove the existence of God and the Bible. Just to love people where they are for who they are just like someone once loved me.