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Someone has an empty bowl. That empty bowl might be hunger or loneliness or fear. It might be self-hate or depression or anger. It might be poverty or abuse or just feeling lost.
God has given someone the means to fill that empty bowl.
It might be me. It might be you.
Why is that my responsibility? When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded,
You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 NLT.
Love your neighbor as yourself. How much do we love ourselves? Most of us give our needs the utmost attention. If I’m hungry I feed myself. If I’m thirsty, I get something to drink. If I’m cold, I put on warmer clothing. You get the idea. I love myself. That may sound odd to say, but it’s true. You love yourself, too.
We’re very much aware of our own empty bowls, and most of the time, we do what we can to fill that bowl. That’s how Jesus expects His followers to treat their neighbors.
Just who is my neighbor? He’s the guy in the next apartment, and the lady in the next cubicle. He’s the one I’ve known for years, and she’s the stranger I may never see again. They live in the next neighborhood, and they live in the next state. She’s young and old. He’s friendly and gruff.
My neighbor is anyone and everyone.
And my neighbor may have an empty bowl.
Am I aware of my neighbor’s empty bowl? Do I intentionally take time to notice that my neighbor might have an empty bowl? I can’t fill it if I don’t know what it is.
What if I know what that empty bowl is but I don’t have the resources to fill it? Then I need to help my neighbor find someone who can fill it.
Loving our neighbor is not an option.
You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
This is the tenth post in a series about True Discipleship. Other posts you might enjoy: