Jesus said that the Old Testament Law can be condensed into two principles:

  1. Love God with all your heart
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself

That’s it.  The Old Testament is pointing people to being lovers of God and lovers of others.  You might also say it these ways:

  1. You cannot love God without loving others.
  2. You cannot love others without loving God.

Loving God and loving others are inextricably intertwined.  And they are necessary, not optional.  The follower of Christ cannot follow Him merely as a good example; Christ must be followed as One who is loved and others — all others — must also be loved.  Just to be clear, love also inherently means sacrificial giving and service — there is a cost to love.

So how will we love in days of Covid-19?  When we are distant from each other, how will we love our neighbor?  How can we love sacrificially like the good Samaritan when we are supposed to be no closer than six feet away from everyone (and to love others means that it is unloving to encroach on those restrictions) — and most of us want to stay even further away than that?

Here is one suggestion — one way (and I willingly acknowledge that there are many other ways to love in this world) that you might love others in your immediate neighborhood and community.

You might right a note (handwritten is always more personal) something like this:

Dear neighbor:

My name is ____ and my wife’s name is _____.  We live just down the street from you at ___________.  We know that we need to be careful about person-to-person contact right now, but we would like to serve you and help you with things that you might need these days.  We don’t know what specific needs you might have, but here are some things we’d like to help you with if you have a need:

      • We can run errands for you — pick up prescriptions, groceries, or anything else you might need.
      • We are happy to help with yard work if you’re unable to get out.  (We’re not as good as pro landscapers, but we do ok with a lawnmower and trimmer!)
      • We don’t have school-aged children any more, but we’ve done school for a long time, so if you have any questions are concerns about educating your kids, call us!
      • Maybe you’re tired of cooking, or are sick and can’t cook — we have some great soups and soup recipes (and other things as well) — can we share with you?  (We will call before we deliver it and then leave it by the front door so you don’t have to be in contact with us.)
      • We are happy to pray for you.  In fact, we’ve already been praying for you, but maybe you have a particular need that you’d like to share?  Please call us (our phone numbers are ______) or email us (our email addresses are ______).

This time might also be provoking some questions in your heart about God, life and death, and suffering.  Our pastor is preaching on topics like that right now; you can join us online every Sunday morning at 11:00 at http://www.gbcgranbury.com/live.  If you watch the service, we’d love to talk about it with you when it’s over; give us a call!

And whether you watch or not, whether you want us to pray or not, it would be our joy to let us help you with any needs you have during this time (and afterwards, too).  That’s what it means to be a neighbor, and we want to be a true neighbor to you.

Talk to you soon,

Terry

Your situation and abilities will be a little different than mine, so adapt the note in appropriate ways.  But let’s not waste this opportunity.  Let’s redeem it to be the light of Christ to our neighbors and communities.

I do acknowledge that this may be costly — certainly in time, possibly in finances, and perhaps even in health.  But isn’t that the nature of love?  Isn’t that the nature of what Christ did for us and what He calls us to for Him?

We do well to remember that ministry is inherently risky.  And as John Piper has said, Risk is Right.  It’s worth reading that entire book, but just consider this one statement that he makes:

Safety is a mirage. It ought to be. And yet our churches — American churches — are filled with people who only dream security, now and until they drop dead. Maximize safety. Maximize security. Maximize comfort. It’s the total opposite of the Biblical vision of life. Risk is normal. It’s right.…You can’t escape risk. It’s a mirage. It’s an enchantment. It’s a dream world to think you can escape it.

Aren’t you glad that Christ not only risked, but gave up His life for you?  Aren’t you glad that no matter what you give up, if you are in Christ, you cannot lose what is eternal?  Don’t you want to follow in the paths of other Christ-followers, who in even worse situations took bigger risks? (You really need to read that article, and also listen to the sermon from one of our own missionaries, David Gibson, who said several years ago: “Taking risks is not irresponsible; it’s necessary to accomplish ministry.”)  Yes, there may be risk in loving others.  But our Savior has called us to love, regardless of the risk.

We don’t have to be safe.  We do have to love.

Image courtesy of Suwit Ritjaroon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net