Every summer, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association runs a series of spiritual growth articles called the Summer Soul Refresher. This year focuses on five aspects of intentional living. This is part 2. Read part 1 here.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
—1 John 4:11 (ESV)
While creating community may look different this year, God designed us to be with one another—even in the midst of a pandemic. The first step is caring about those around us and sharing God’s love with them.
>> Scroll down to watch a 30-second video on reaching out to others.
In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Billy Graham once talked about this while preaching in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1984.
“First I’d like to ask the question, who is my neighbor?” Graham said. He went on to share the story of the Good Samaritan in the gospel of Luke. In the parable, a priest and a Levite pass by another man who had been robbed and beaten. Though the priest and the Levite were religious, they didn’t bother to care for him.
Then a Samaritan came by and had pity on the man left to die.
>> Who is my neighbor? is “not only a social question, but a spiritual question.” Listen to Billy Graham’s full sermon.
“Now, a Samaritan was a half-caste between a Jew and a Gentile and was despised by both,” Graham explained. “He came from a different race, a different culture, a different color of skin and he had compassion on this man, lying over there in the ditch. He didn’t have to feel responsibility. That wasn’t one of his own people. … [But] he didn’t just love him and leave him, he did something about it.”
The Samaritan tended to the man’s wounds, found a place for him to stay and paid for his care.
In the same way, we’re called to live a life in which we wholeheartedly love those around us—those who may have different burdens or struggles, but need Jesus all the same. These people aren’t just our neighbors; they’re our community—and if they’re believers, they’re also part of the body of Christ.
As you consider safe options for reaching out to others, look to the Good Samaritan as an example:
- Be vigilant toward those suffering—and have compassion on them.
- Take care of those who are hurting.
- Be willing to personally sacrifice or share something of your own for someone else.
- Offer a place of refuge.
- Give financially to help out.
“The word ‘neighbor’ generally means someone who lives near, in the same community,” Billy Graham once shared. But the Bible defines a neighbor as anyone we may come in contact with, just like the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37).
Need ideas for reaching out? Watch below.
Refresh Your Soul
Many people are lonelier than ever, so reach out to a friend you haven’t heard from, or drop groceries off at a family’s doorstep. Be intentional about reflecting Christ’s love by loving those around you—even if it’s from 6 feet apart.
Still isolated due to COVID-19? Here are some ways to keep spiritual community.
Are you lonely? Find peace and purpose through a relationship with Christ.