I Need a Hero

This is what my neighbor heard me say as he opened the door at my knock. I had just had a very loud and impressive tire blow-out on the way to the airport. Fortunately, it did not happen on a five-lane Virginia highway, nor our congested 50MPH Bypass, or worse, the Wright Brothers Memorial Bridge. It happened after I turned around because my car had started to shimmy, and my daughter and I decided to go back and get the truck so we could drop the car at the repair place. We didn’t know what was wrong, but something obviously was wrong. So it happened as I turned onto my own street.

My neighbor quickly grabbed his tools, his jack, and his work assistant, and in less than half an hour my spare was on the car and we were on our way to the repair shop. A second neighbor stopped to offer help, and there were at least three others on the street that I felt that I could have called on.

The tire repair guy listened to my story and told me I should go and buy a lottery ticket, since I was having such a lucky day. (That’s how bad a breakdown on the bridge is: if your tire explodes anywhere else, it’s a lucky day). We laughed and joked a little more, and without correcting him, I told him I thought I was very blessed. There is a difference.

Luck is success or failure apparently brought by chance, rather than through one’s own actions. It is arbitrary, a happenstance, something that randomly occurs with no predictably or pattern. Blessings are the purview of a gracious and giving God. There is a deliberateness to his action. He is consistent. He is always working for our good, and is generous in his blessings. And sometimes they come in disguise.

My biggest blessing today, not counting the fact that I didn’t blow out the BRIDGE, is the kindness of my neighbors. I am blessed with good neighbors. In so many places in the world today, communities live in groups of strangers. Neighbors don’t know each other’s names. There is no interest in exchanging more than a compulsory nod of the head when passing on the street.

God has blessed me by placing me on a street where I am known and cared for. I can’t walk my dog down the street without people coming out to give her a treat….which is counter productive to the reason why we are walking…but how can I deny her the blessing from her neighbor?

Jesus once explained the neighborliness of being a good neighbor. It is interesting to note that it was in response to a question about how to receive eternal life.

Luke 10:30-37 “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’

“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

Want eternal life? Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. So go out of your way today to be a good neighbor. Smile. Wave. Learn somebody’s name. Be friendly, take a casserole, weed a flower bed, or be someone’s hero. Good neighbors are a blessing, so go be one.

And good news, Outrigger Drive; you’re going to heaven, based on dog treats and blown tires alone.

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