One day an expert on Moses' laws came to test Jesus' orthodoxy by asking him this question: "teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?"
Jesus replied, "What does Moses' law say about it?"
"It says," he replied, "that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself."
"Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you shall live!"
The man wanted to justify (his lack of love for some kinds of people), so he asked, "Which neighbors?"
Luke 10:25-29 (TLB)
Gerd Helene Rosok lives in Norway. She attended an inspiring conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, some years ago. Many of the speakers were focused on the importance of knowing our neighbors. After the conference was over, she planned to take the bus back home to Sarpsborg, Norway. When the bus was delayed, Gerd sat outside in the sunshine, reading a book.
A young woman approached and asked those around Gerd if they had any small change for her. Most people declined. Did I have any Swedish money left? Gerd thought. The woman passed her slowly as Gerd greeted her and gave her 20 Swedish crowns (approximately three dollars) which was all she had. She thanked her, and Gerd touched her arm gently. "God bless you," Gerd said. "May the Lord bless you as well." she answered. Gerd became braver: "May I mention you in my prayers? What is your name?" "Belinda," she said. "I used to pray, but now I find it difficult. Would you pray for me and my little girl that the child welfare office has taken from me? Her name is Lina. Gerd rose from where she sat and hugged her.
From that bus station encounter in Gothenburg, two strangers became neighbors. Since that day Gerd has been praying for Belinda and Lina. And she knows that God hears her prayers. After all, it was God who made them known to her.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for letting us into your heart. May your love and grace go with us every step of our lives, in Jesus' name. Amen.