This story is so sad! An elderly man was found dead in front of his television, which was still on, more than a year after he died!! (Who was paying the electric bill?) No one had reported him missing, although his neighbors noticed he wasn't around much anymore. (Duh!) They thought he had moved to a nursing home.
How well do you know your neighbors? Would you notice if they suddenly disappeared? I recently read someone confess that after living in her current home for 2 years, she does not know any of her neighbors. That would make Jesus' command to "love your neighbor as yourself" pretty difficult wouldn't it?
I have to admit, I have it easier than some to fulfill this command. When we moved to our small town from a major U.S. city, all of our neighbors came over to meet us. By all, I mean everyone on our block, and a few from around town that had "heard" we were new. They came with casseroles, brownies, and other goodies. At first, I found it unsettling that so many people knew where we lived. People I met at church or the grocery store would comment, "Oh, your husband is the new golf pro! You bought the Richardson's house, didn't you?" In the big city we came from, some of our friends didn't even know where we lived. In our new small town home, perfect strangers know where we live, who owned the house before us, how much we paid for it, and the square footage.
After reading the news story above, though, I am thankful to know all the neighbors on my block. We care about each other and each one of us would definitely notice if another was missing. Now, excuse me while I take some brownies to my new neighbors.
**I realize the point of Jesus' words is that everyone is our neighbor, but I think starting with our actual, physical neighbors is a good idea.