Some of Jesus’ most quoted words are, “to love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
Those of us in Chi Alpha Campus Ministries are cognizant of the reality of the wide variety of neighbors we encounter in the colleges and universities of the United States.
Being kind to our neighbors is an important part of Jesus’ teaching. We endeavor to show hospitality to American and foreign students throughout the school year. We sponsor fun activities, weekend retreats, service and justice projects, and assist young people in their holistic development (i.e., spiritual, intellectual, physical, social, and financial). We teach Scripture with a high regard for its practical and transferable applications (see 1 John 2:6). Our focus is to help students become life-long followers and disciples of King Jesus.
But Jesus also took it a step further when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (which is also found in Matthew 22:39). That is certainly a tall order and calls for a deeper commitment and investment of ourselves, doesn’t it? So how do we do it?
Well, we start by acknowledging that our service to the academy involves the four main people groups: undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and foreign students. Then we further break it down into groups or sub-groups of the four main ones. While most Chi Alpha chapters start with a focused effort toward freshman and work up the “relational chain” to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, our groups encounter and deal with others all the time.
It means the guy or girl who lives across the hall in the dorm or the people living in the rented house next door. It means the students who traveled the farthest to come to school that semester (hint: they came from another country). It cannot forget those in graduate school with even less time on their hands than undergrads, and it cannot ignore the faculty, administrators, and service personnel who live and work nearby campus.
Our neighbor is anyone in need we happen to come in contact with, as Jesus taught in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus linked loving our neighbor to His greatest commandment in Mark 12:30. If we love God with our whole being, we’ll naturally treat people right, right? We’ll take time, even make time, for others, right?
Read Mark 12:28-34.
The Bible does not leave us hanging when it comes to who are neighbors are, whether they live in your dorm or sorority, are on your club sports team, or you bump into them in an elevator on the way to class. Loving others like ourselves (Jesus style) means to: rejoice when good things happen to others (Luke 15:6, 9; do nothing to hurt another (Romans 13:8-10); are honest with one another (Ephesians 4:25); encourage one another daily (Hebrews 3:13); and don’t favor one person over another (James 2:8-9).
Serve globally. Join us in your part of the world by living like Jesus. There is no guarantee we’ll get the same treatment in return, but loving others is something Jesus expects from us. Loving God means loving your neighbor, even if she is a professor who gives you a grade you earned and don’t agree with. Loving others is a command.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz