Matthew 22:34-40 NLT But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees with His reply, they met together to question Him again. (35) One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap Him with this question: (36) “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” (37) Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (40) The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
God has created us to be reward motivated.
Hebrews 11:6 NLT And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.
Whatever the goal is that we are endeavoring to accomplish in our lives, our plans may be good, purpose may be good, but something can seem to hold us back and keep us from following through with what we need to do.
Often what is lacking is a clear and concise look at the real costs and rewards of what we are looking to do.
Without this, the plan can sound good but lack the drive and motivation required to move you to action.
For instance, in preparing for retirement, you must be convinced that having funds laid aside for later is worth the effort and expense.
Luke 14:28 NLT “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?
The Costs of Neighboring:
1 Corinthians 10:33 NLT (33) I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.
- Time and Energy
- Reading and Study
2 Timothy 2:15 KJV Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Galatians 6:7 NIV Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
Galatians 6:9 NIV Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
- Risk of Embarrassment, Rejection, or Persecution
Matthew 5:11-12 NLT “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers. (12) Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
- It complicates Your Life
So does getting married, having children, and buying a house but there is not one spouse, one parent that would say that they complication that these things bring to one’s life are not worth the price.
Neighboring can be messy because people in need of Jesus don’t have it all together and their lives are often really messed up.
In other words, we may have to get a little dirty when we deal with people. (dirty poopy diaper)
The Rewards of Neighboring:
Being the kind of neighbor Jesus was us to be to others can give your relationship with Him and exciting sense of the unexpected.
God loves to stretch us beyond our comfort zones and stepping out by faith and send us out on search and rescue missions.
There is something exhilarating when you sense that God is using you to impact the life of someone else.
When you begin to experience more and more of the adventures God can create out of everyday situations, you’ll find yourself facing daily life with a new sense of purpose.
You start looking for God to surprise you at any time with an eternity-altering opportunity.
You’ll also begin to see how God can take a difficult situation or circumstance and put purpose to it by giving you an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with someone.
As you begin to allow God to use you in rescuing people from an eternity separate from Him, it creates a sense of fulfillment that goes way beyond normal daily living.
What else can compare to being an instrument that God is using to love people He cared enough to die for?
John 4:30-35 NIV They came out of the town and made their way toward him. (31) Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” (32) But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” (33) Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” (34) “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. (35) Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
Jesus Himself experienced this sense of fulfillment when He ministered to the Samaritan woman.
He was saying in essence, “I just played a part in fulfilling God’s plan of reaching this lost world – and I eat this stuff up!”
- Spiritual Growth
Your personal relationship with God will become re-ignited once again when you encounter those that are seeking for God. All of these begin to flourish:
- Bible Reading
- Personal Purity
- Church Attendance
- Spiritual Confidence
People who do not believe the way that you do will challenge you to take steps to ensure that you know what you are talking about in regards to basic spiritual truths. But when you see God move in someone’s life it will produce boldness.
Acts 4:31 MSG (31) While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence.
- Enduring Investments
The reality is that all of the things of this world will one day be burned up so what are you investing in that will last throughout eternity?
2 Peter 3:10-13 NLT But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. (11) Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, (12) looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, He will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. (13) But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
1 Corinthians 15:45 NLT (45) The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam–that is, Christ–is a life-giving Spirit.
- The Honor of Being God’s Agent
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NLT (20) So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (21) For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.