Who is my neighbour?  We’ve all heard this question… Jesus heard this question.  His answer was an easy one, but uncomfortably so.  In his response, Jesus pointed out to the folks in his presence that whoever needs mercy is our neighbour. 

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
      Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”  —-Luke 10 verse 37

I’ve been pouring over something ringing in my ears and head over the last few weeks.  It’s a sentence from The Echo Within by Robert Benson

“We are meant to be given away, to sound out our word in the world, to give it to others” 

Our word is that part of God Himself that He breathed into us… our purpose, our gifting, our calling.  Otherwise all of those things are just meant to fulfill us.  If God created us to be like that, then Western society definitely has it down pat.  All things unto myself seems to be our credo most of the time.

I have been wrestling with my own calling, and I believe that I have found the next step with that calling, a city.  Hopefully, I will know the community to which I am being called soon.  The hard part is that I keep losing sight of the fact that I have been called to someone by Someone. 

“When we wrestle with our calling, part of what we are called to do is to see and hear and notice those to whom we in particular are being given.”  —The Echo Within

How humbling and again, what a struggle for someone who doesn’t know how to be permanent.  Permanency doesn’t come by living in one place for a long time.  I proved that by temporarily for 12 years in this town and for another 14 in the town previous.  It comes with the mindset that the people we have are a gift from God and treating them like such.  Investment, vulnerability, and a concept of something more than the day are all things that solidify something more than momentary. 

Part of the calling is the being:  the identity we have.  Who and whose. 

Part of the calling is the doing: the actions we do.  What, where, when. 

Part of the calling is the purpose:  the reasons we have.  How and why.

Part of the calling is whom we’re called to.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we can recognise the fact that we rarely go outside of what is comfortable to us.  So, if there is someone convenient nearby, we’ll call them our neighbour.  But, forbid us if we had to make an effort to recognise that we have issues that gnaw at us over and over, or people that when we see we would rather push them outside of our peripheral vision.  Out of sight, out of mind, out of our responsibility.

The passage of Benson’s book that keeps haunting me is this one.  Forgive me for quoting it here, but it reminds me to focus outside of myself:  (apologies to Mr. Benson for commenting on his wonderful writing)

—-

“Who is my neighbour?  Whose neighbours keep passing them by on the other side of the road?  To whom am I being given for this season of my life, for this stretch of my days?  And who is being given to me?  Who will go unnoticed or unattended if  I do not answer this call? 

“I have tried to write poetry for those for whom there is no poetry,” said the poet Phillip Levine in a letter to a friend.

Who will have no poetry if I am not the poet?

Who will have no bread if I am not the baker?

Who will see no light if I hide mine under a bushel?

To be called is to be sent.  And we are being sent to someone as much as we are being sent by Someone.  To be called is to keep looking for those to whom we are being given.”

—Namaste, Mr. Benson.  You hit the nail on the head for those of us who live temporary lives.  We have to be invested in and are being invested in others.  There is where the glory of God resides… in the redemptive relationship to which He has called us. 

Look for those you’ve been called to be their neighbour. 

 

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