The Cost of Failing to be a Good Neighbor

I grew up in a real neighborhood in a small rural town in Illinois. Back then neighbors talked to each other and shared the abundance of their gardens. In the summer neighbors would sit on their front porches or in lawn chairs under the shade of a tree. In those days neighbors would even venture across the yard or across the street to sit and talk while the kids played.

Sadly, I haven’t lived in a neighborhood like the one described above since my childhood. In fact, every neighborhood in which I have lived since is quite the opposite. It’s not that we don’t seek to be un-neighborly. We have just lost the art of being neighborly. Frankly, we’re just not interested enough to make the effort! Just this week I read about a man who was found dead in his kitchen. The authorities believe he had been dead for a year. Unfortunately, cases like this one are becoming more and more frequent. 

The term “Good Samaritan” comes from a story Jesus told. (You can refresh your memory of the story by reading Luke 10:25-37.) Jesus tells of a man who was beaten and naked lying on the side of the road. Those who should have stopped actually passed by on the other side (meaning they went out of their way be as far from the man as they could), but one stopped to help. Jesus ends the story by encouraging us to be like the one who stopped.

The neighbors of the man found dead wondered why they hadn’t seen him and why the yard was overgrown. Could this happen in our neighborhoods? If we were honest, most of us would say yes. Elder Source has produced a booklet entitled, “Who is My Neighbor?” The booklet and video are both on our website and can be downloaded without cost. Pass it along to friends and family and especially your church. The man’s death was by natural causes, but lying dead on the floor for a year unnoticed by friends and neighbors is shame!

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministrie