Neighbor’s Cow 

Deuteronomy 22:15-23

Synopsis     Deuteronomy 22:15-23     3/5/2018

Moses addressed the situation of children who are born to an unloved wife – that their inheritance may not be discriminated against. He also established the law concerning a rebellious son and the law concerning the corpse of someone who has received capital punishment.

In a different vein, Moses described the responsibility that each member of the community has toward the property of neighbors. According to this law, each member of the community was required to catch any stray animals they encountered and return them to their owners. Moses extended this law to include all property.

Neighbor’s Cow

So the law of the Authentic Community is that I cannot look the other way. I cannot ignore my neighbor’s lost cow, or donkey, or sheep or material possession if it is in my power to restore it to my neighbor. I am bound by this law to act – to help. I am bound to round up the renegade and take it to its home.

Who is My Neighbor?

The self-righteous scribe couldn’t help himself. “And who is my neighbor?” he asked Jesus.

Of course, I am the self-righteous scribe. If someone dropped a quarter in the grocery I’d be the first to rush over to “help” pick it up. But I am simultaneously so sure I understand the letter of the law that I can always find a way to justify not investing time in my neighbor who has lost his spouse to cancer.

Recently someone said to me, “You make it all sound so easy – but it isn’t easy”. So my words betray this deeper reality. My own experience tells me this way of givenness is strangely not easy. And yet the work itself is not a burden. The challenge, it seems, is all inside of me.

It’s true. It’s authentic. It’s easy to say. But it’s the doing that matters.

“And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29


March 5, 2018

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