Who is my Neighbor?

In Luke 10:25, a legal expert asks Jesus about the path to eternal life. Jesus tells him to follow the two greatest commandments—love God and love your neighbors. Yet the man presses for more detail, following up by asking “And who is my neighbor?” (verse 29). Then Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan, teaching that neighbors can be anyone, not just people who look, act, and believe as we do. It takes effort to know our neighbors, let alone to serve them. But serving others helps us get to know people as individuals and also allows Jesus to work through us, as living examples of his love.

Secret Neighborhood Family Challenge

This month, play a special game to practice loving others as you do yourself. Each week, write down the names of every family member (or extend the challenge to include friends and neighbors as well) on strips of paper, mix them up, and have each person in the family choose one without looking. The name on the strip selected is that person’s “secret neighbor” for the week. Everyday try to do something especially kind or helpful for your secret neighbor or think something nice about them in situations when you would usually get annoyed. Be sure to pray for them every night!

At the end of the week, discuss what you did for your secret neighbor. Discuss how acting in love helps us to actually feel greater love towards one another.

The Samaritan Shuffle

From Parenting Christian Kids Blog

Use this activity to teach kids about neighborliness while helping them release pent-up energy. On slips of paper, write one of these events from the parable of the Good Samaritan:

  • A man walks to Jericho.
  • Robbers beat up the man.
  • A priest walks past the hurt man.
  • A Levite walks past the hurt man.
  • A Samaritan stops to bandage the man’s wounds.
  • A Samaritan puts the wounded man onto an animal.
  • A Samaritan takes the wounded man to a motel.
  • A Samaritan pays the motel manager to care for the man.

Put each slip into a different balloon. Inflate and tie off the balloons. Have family members bat the balloons around. When you yell, “Stop and pop!” everyone grabs a balloon (or two), pops it, and retrieves the slip. Work together to figure out the correct sequence. Then read Luke 10:30-37 to see how you did. Pray, thanking Jesus for opportunities to love your neighbors.
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