Over the last ten or fifteen years, I’ve known scads of people who want to join a Jewish synagogue. I thoroughly believe in gleaning as much as we can from our friends, the Jews. They have preserved the Word for us. But don’t go backward and become one. Jesus came, and they wanted to remain as they were. Growth is mandatory in this—the last, the only, the greatest—move the earth has ever known, this glorious Body we call Christianity. Our future demands risk taking, that is to say, Jesus requires something unheard of—profound love.
I mean, when the Bible speaks of loving your neighbor as yourself, how on earth am I going to be capable of doing that? For instance, I am buying myself a home, the first one I’ve owned in forty years. I recently met a pastor who is living in exile, kicked out of his country. Why? He actually changed the culture. He challenged his congregation to do something to love their neighbor as themselves. He told them that if they owned their own home, but they knew someone who had never been able to do that, then they should help them buy their own home.
He realized that he had to set the example, so he asked his gardener if he owned his own home, and he did not, so the pastor decided he would build a house for his gardener. His family joined the effort, and they gave up ordering pizza on Friday nights, for example, and not going on a weekend vacation, thereby putting the money they would have spent for the weekend into the fund for the gardener’s home. The pastor said it didn’t take long at all for them to gather the money for the task, and today the gardener and his family live in their own home.
The congregation wholeheartedly joined the effort, each family finding someone who needed a home and building it for them. That’s when the culture of the city changed. All those contracts between government officials and construction workers, under the table transactions, were now causing them to lose money, not make it. The pastor was warned to quit his efforts to ruin the city. (They never seemed to understand the benefit to the city.) When he refused, he was ousted from his country!
Is this my example the Lord is drawing me to place upon myself? Well, I did. I am putting money aside to buy a house for a woman I know who really wants her own place. I can certainly understand as I’ve wanted a home for a long, long time. If I can purchase one for myself, then I must certainly love my neighbor as myself and buy one for her as well. What can you do for your neighbor?