Won’t You Be Their Neighbor?
Mister Rogers famously asked, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” in all eight hundred and ninety-five episodes of his PBS show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” His simple question lives on in American lore and in the minds of many Americans who grew up watching Mister Rogers, including myself. Fred Rogers was a Christian man who understood that to be a Christian is to be a neighbor, the kind of neighbor Jesus described using the parable of the Good Samaritan.
As I mentioned during church on Sunday, I sprained my foot on Saturday morning playing basketball. Not only was I in pain, but I was in trouble. Annette was out of town getting a much needed break, which meant that I was on my own when it came to dealing with my injury and taking care of all six kiddos. I could use some help right about then. Enter a man who decided to be my neighbor.
One of the older guys (early 60’s) playing basketball that morning was a former EBC’er that had left Evergreen several years ago due to schedule conflicts. We didn’t know each other but he knew I needed help. He proceeded to give up his Saturday morning/afternoon plans (including basketball) in order to ensure the kids and I would be okay. He drove me to the Doctor, waited two hours with me, bought the kids pizza, and dropped my oldest off at a baseball workout. He offered to do more.
In about six hours time, this man had become a friend and even somewhat of a hero to me. How? By choosing not to stay a stranger. He saw a need and did something about it even though it cost him. He secured a place in my heart as someone who could have very easily walked past me when I needed help, but didn’t. He was a living embodiment of “The Good Samaritan.” I’ll forever be grateful.
Before Mr. Rogers asked the world to be his neighbor, Jesus told us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” He was essentially saying, “Won’t you be their neighbor??” Jesus then proceeded to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan and told us to “Go and do likewise.” Imagine if all of us Christ followers went and did likewise?! Think of the joy we’d have in knowing what we did for and with our Savior. Think of the relational blessings we might enjoy with those we help. And what’s more, think of the impact we’d have for the Kingdom of God! Brothers and Sisters, let’s slow down a little bit and ask God to show us who our neighbors are and then be on the lookout. I’m convinced you and your neighbor will be glad you did.