Our fears, either real or imagined, can cripple us from loving well. Jesus models this love for us in the encounter he had with the tax collectors in Luke 5:27-32. Tax collectors were considered "those people" and were hated by the Jewish community. Tax collectors were Jews who had "sold out" to Rome by collecting money from the community to give to Rome while keeping much of it for themselves. Jesus had just finished healing the paralytic in a home, and then he left the house to go meet a tax collector. Here is what Pastor Alex challenged us to learn from this passage:
1. Take the first step out (v27)
A. Move to your front yard
B. Build a swing
C. Get some chairs
D. throw a block party
2. Have great food (v29)
There is an intimacy that comes with breaking bread. As a family, one of the most important things you can do is eat together. Invite your neighbors over for dinner.
3. See people for who they truly are (v30)
A. They are the Imago Dei
B. They have fears...maybe of us
C. Although we may have different cultures, we all have the same hope and dreams.
When we live in fear, we live in isolation.
When we live in love, we live in community.
Someone has to break the cycle of fear...will it be you?
Remember, you have gifts, a calling, love, power, and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:5-10).
The gospel moves at the speed of relationship. If your neighbors don't know you, they won't reach out for help in a time of crisis.
1. Is there anything that keeps you from going across the street? What is is this fear and where does it come from?
2. When was the last time a neighbor came to you for help? Have you ever prayed with a neighbor? How did that go?
3. How often do you eat dinner together as a family? Why is this important?
4. How many times in the next year will you have neighbors in your home for dinner?
Father, thank you for putting me on my street. Holy Spirit, please reveal to me any fears that hinder me from being the neighbor I am called to be, and give me the power to love through those fears. I want opportunities to love and serve my neighbors, but I know that in order to help, I need to be accessible. Help me get out in the front yard and be intentional with knowing those in my neighborhood.