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What It Looks Like to Be a Neighbor

Recently, while inching along in traffic, I saw two men in conversation on the sidewalk. One man was seated on a box at the end of the freeway off-ramp. He was gray-haired and tired looking, and he held a cardboard sign with a message written by an unsteady hand: "Please Help." The other individual was a Latino man. They shared a brief exchange, and the Latino man walked away.

As I slowly drove by the spot where the man in need sat on his box, I caught a glimpse of the younger Latino man walking down the street. I immediately recognized his gait—it was Juan, an immigrant who attends the church where I pastor. I pulled over, rolled down the window, and asked Juan if he needed a ride.

"No, my car is right there," he said, as he pointed in its direction.

Confused, I asked what he was doing walking down the street by the freeway.

"I just stopped to pray with that man and get him some food," Juan said.

"Oh! Uh, wow," I said. Then I drove off, moved by Juan's generosity.

I found out later that day that Juan has stopped before for the old man. A member of the church choir once witnessed Juan literally take the shirt off his back—a shirt his wife had just given him for Christmas—and give it to the man.

Needless to say, it didn't take long to realize that Jesus was showing me what it looks like to be a neighbor.

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