Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you.
When we moved into our new home a week before Christmas, we didn’t take time to hang out lights or a wreath on the door, but we did make sure that our carved-wood “SHALOM” sign was prominently displayed. Coming home one day, we found a plate of home-made cookies with a card saying, “Happy Hannukah or Merry Christmas!” Our neighbors wanted to welcome us but were not sure if we were Christian or Jewish. Upon thanking them, we shared a good laugh followed by a good conversation, including their statement “Our tools are your tools.”
Responding to his disciples’ request “Lord, teach us to pray,” Jesus used the example of a friend’s need for boldness as well as a father’s desire to give good gifts to his children (Luke 11:1-12). Helping others is a powerful way to demonstrate our love for God—and our neighbors!
“What good is it . . . if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?” (James 2:14). James then goes on to illustrate the need to match faith with actions, as Abraham did (James 2:15-24).
As Jesus’ followers, we hear the admonition “Do not withhold good . . . when it is in your power to act.” Christians should be good neighbors.
Gracious Giver of gifts, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, whom we needed so desperately. Help us to be more like him by being good neighbors. In his name we pray. Amen.
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