Spider Man (1970’s old school video)
Any Spider Man fans around? He has a multi-generational group of fans. What is your favourite of his super powers? Web, strength, agility, stick-i-ness, spidey sense? As cool and effective as his powers might be, I think his most powerful attribute is his title that reflects his character:
Friendly Neighbourhood Spider Man.
When his uncle found out about his powers he told him a very well known statement: With great power comes great responsibility.
The reality is that no matter how much skill, talent, power or money we may have, if we’re not neighbourly or friendly, it will never leave an impact.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13…you can have everything, but without love, you have nothing and you offer nothing.
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Last week we started a conversation that is depicted by one question:
WON’T you be my NEIGHBOUR?
Neighbouring is the most common and everyday activity we engage in. Yet so many of us have a hard time being neighbours to one another.
As we make this invite and ask this question, the truth is this, weather we accept or decline, the reality stays the same, WE ARE NEIGHBOURS.
The real question is, what kind of neighbour will you be?
Next week we’ll dive into the issue of diversity and neighbouring: acknowledging that we are all the same, and yet all different, and of course, how do we move on from there.
We’re going to close it up on Canada day with a ‘Neighbourly Challenge’.
Today, let’s remember why we’re discussing this – we get to this conversation because Jesus is asked a question. The question isn’t about a neighbourly dispute, rather, it’s about faith and spirituality. Jesus connects our faith to our neighbourliness – he connects our love of him to our love of neighbour.
Love God…how? (heart, soul, mind, strength)
Love your neighbour…how? (as yourself)
The second most important question in this story comes in Luke 10:29…
27 He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Who is my neighbour?
Why this question? Because the expert in religious law wanted to know exactly ‘WHO’ he should be loving as himself. Fair question. Which we’ll answer more in depth next week 😉
Jesus responds with a story.
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Three words helps us describe the Samaritan’s actions:
Opportunity / Proximity / Practicality
As he travelled… (opportunity)
– The Samaritan wasn’t intentionally going anywhere, he was simply travelling and came across this opportunity.
Came where the man was… (proximity)
– The Samaritan walked across the road to get close to get close enough to serve his neighbour.
Saw him…took pity…bandaged him up…gave him a lift…paid for his hotel fee… (practicality)
– He did what he could with what he had. Simple. Practical.
The Samaritan is the unlikely hero in this story. He is aware enough to see the need that faces him. He is close enough to do something. He does what he can with that he has.
He has no super powers. No extra-ordinary ability. No cape, no x-ray vision, no super suit, no webs, no team of avengers to help him. He does what he can with what he has.
Well…he does exhibit some kind of power:
If we want to become the kind of neighbour Jesus is inviting us to be, we don’t need any powers, we don’t need more money, we don’t need more time, we don’t need a fancy suit. All we need is what we already have…coupled with compassion & presence.
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Back to Spider Man. I know he has a cool suit, and some interesting and useful powers, but the what makes him stand out is simply found in his title: Friendly Neighbourhood Spider Man.
Fathers & Men. Listen UP: (this talk was shared on Father’s Day)
We’re fooled to think that we need more of anything to make a difference. You have all the gifts and tools you need to make a difference. As long as you are a man who is able to be Present & Compassionate, you will influence and encourage your kids and/or anybody God puts in your path.