Many, many years ago while visiting my family in India, I had the most remarkable encounter with a young girl. She was the poorest of the poor and like many children on the streets of India, an orphan. She saw us coming out of a restaurant and came towards us with her arm extended, and the palm of her hand facing up. As she came closer I could see this young girl, not much younger than me at the time, dressed in filthy, torn rags. Her disheveled hair was caked in dirt.
She came right up to me, looked me in the eyes and said, “Krpaya mujhe paise kee zaroorat hai” (Please, I need some money).
I remember her eyes being the most beautiful I had ever seen.
She knew instinctively that I was from away, so she followed me to the car, hoping no doubt that I would be more sympathetic, all the while ignoring my Aunt’s directives to “go”.
“Can’t we give her something?” I asked my aunt.
“We have the candy in the car”, my Aunt replied as she opened the driver’s door. She reached in and pulled out the bag of treats she had purchased for me earlier that day.
“Do you want to give them to her?” my Aunt asked me. I nodded and she passed me the bag.
Just then the young girl ran down the street, calling her friends to come, “Jaldee aao, jaldee aao". Soon there were eight or nine children crowding around me. I gave each one a candy. They took the candy with great delight and moved away from the car to devour the sweet. The young girl remained by my side, equally content, smiling as she unwrapped her precious treat.
My aunt looked at her and asked, “Why did you call your friends? You could have had the whole bag of candy for yourself.”
She replied, “How could I be happy when all of the others are sad?”
Alone on the street, begging to survive, this group of children cared for one another. Unselfishly, the young girl loved her neighbour. It was a moment I will never forget.
This week we are continuing our series entitled Being a Good Neighbour based on Luke 10:25-29. In this text Jesus encounters a young teacher of the law who asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life.
He knew that the fulfillment of all the laws of the Old Testament was to “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and to love your neighbour as yourself.”
“But who is my neighbour?” the young teacher asks.
Jesus makes clear that everyone is our neighbour and in vv. 30-37 describes what love for that person should look like. Jesus makes clear that love is to guide everything we do.
Because God cares for us, we care for each other, not unlike the young girl on the streets of India.
Join us this Sunday as we continue with Part two of this message series.
Please bring your neighbour!!