Today's Reading - Matthew 22
Most of the accounts in this passage are examples of how the Pharisees and the Sadducees tried to trick Jesus. First, the Pharisees asked Jesus whether taxes should be paid to Caesar. Then, the Sadducees asked Jesus if a woman married seven brothers, the next after the previous one died, whose wife she would be at the resurrection. Next, the Pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment is. Finally, Jesus silences the Pharisees by asking them whose son the Christ is and proving them wrong when they answer, “David.”
The verse from these chapter on which I am going to focus is 39. In Luke 10, in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” (v. 29), Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan and states the robbery victim’s neighbor is the Samaritan because he “had mercy” on the victim (v. 37). Jesus is likewise saying we should have compassion on others. This does not mean giving financially to every person and organization, just treating everyone as a human being.
One example of treating everyone with kindness and respect is the Humans of New York (HONY) blog. Brandon, the blog’s founder, goes around New York City and takes pictures of people. When he posts the picture, he includes a few sentences about the person they provide. The people featured in the blog epitomize Jesus’s definition of neighbor from Luke 10 because HONY has featured people who are homeless, addicts, victims of abuse, and mentally ill, not just those who appear to have it all together. Brandon started the blog as a way to index and map the people of NYC, but it has become much more.
Last month, HONY posted a picture of Vidal, a student at Mott Hall Bridges Academy (MHBA), a charter middle school in Brownsville, a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn with the highest crime rate of all the neighborhoods in NYC. When asked who inspired him, Vidal answered his principal, Ms. Nadia Lopez. She seeks to inspire and motivate young people who society expects to fail. To that end, she wished to send her incoming sixth grade classes on a trip to Harvard University to show them anything is possible if they keep their minds to it and they belong at a place like Harvard. Before HONY photographed Vidal, funding this trip seemed impossible. There was no room in the budget for it and the families of the incoming scholars do not have the means to pay for it out-of-pocket. However, a crowdfunding campaign started by HONY that sought to raise $100,000, or the estimated cost of sending three classes on the trip, raised a total of $1,419,284. Seven hundred thousand dollars ($700,000) will be used to sponsor the trips for successive sixth grade classes. The remaining money will go towards what has been named The Vidal Scholarship Fund, a scholarship for a graduate of MHBA, and summer programs for the scholars of MHBA.
HONY, a blog that initially sought to features neighbors using the earthly definition of neighbor, serves as an example of following the Biblical definition of neighbor through its profiling people from all walks of life and attempting to better the lives of people from a neglected neighborhood. The blog’s creator was not seeking fame when he started the blog in 2010. It was just an outgrowth of his following the principle mentioned in the movie Home Run, “Nothing great happens when you hold back.”
When have you done something good for someone else by taking a chance?
What are some examples of social media doing good for a person or group of people?
If you could start a social media campaign to help your neighbor, what would it look like?
Ok, put your Bible down and live this week like it was the last!
by Jennifer Giblin