Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Comforter Has Come"1 (Lyrics)
It is better to have a good neighbour than a distant friend. – Old Dutch Proverb
The other day, I read that since the rise of social media, email, and texting with people all over the world, we have much less contact with the people near us. Many people don't even know who lives on their own street or in the apartments above or below them. It seems that over the years, people have grown apart.
It is quite often mentioned that in years past, in times of trouble or need, neighbours were the first to help out. For instance, an immigrant, who came from the Netherlands many years ago, told me during one of our visits that when he had been in Canada for just a few years, they bought a farm. Meanwhile, he still had to make a living, so he worked in a local factory from 7:00 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. When he came home at 6:00 p.m., he would have a quick bite to eat and then do what had to be done on the farm in the evening hours.
The first spring that they were there, when it was time to plow the fields, he would go out and work until dark, and it would take him several evenings to get all the soil turned over. Then one evening when he arrived home from the factory, he saw, much to his surprise, that the whole field was plowed. During the day, a neighbour had come in and finished the job for him.
Actually, that kind of thing still happens. Last winter, when I was ill, our next-door neighbour and a young man from across the street cleared the snow off our driveway almost daily. Great people, good neighbours!
The Bible tells us that a good neighbour does no harm, is trustworthy, cares for others, is generous, and treats others like they themselves would like to be treated.
Jesus had something to say about neighbourliness when a lawyer tested Him with a question:
Matthew 22:36-40 – "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (NKJV)
How are we doing with this commandment? Do we have a good relationship with our neighbours? Do we help them out when they need it? Do we care for them? Are we generous to them with our resources? More importantly, do we treat them as we would wish to be treated?
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for good neighbours, and we pray that we will be good neighbours to those near us and even to those far away. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.