Who Is My Neighbor?

One of the most segregated parts of our day in high school was lunchtime. In the school lunchroom:

- All the black kids sat together

- All the red necks sat together

- All the jocks sat together

- All the nerds sat together (my table!)

- All the preppies sat together

- All the cheerleaders sat together

When it came time to sit down and eat, all the birds of a feather flocked together.

It seems that for humanity, this flocking together is the norm.

As a fundraiser, this matters to us particularly because, we are called to invite people who eat at different tables to come together and participate in each other's lives.

Jesus saw this "flocking together" as a problem. He called it a "neighbor" problem. When we live our lives with people just like us, we are not being neighborly. That we should love our neighbor as ourselves was His message. He pointed out how our tendency to gravitate toward people like ourselves is problematic. He taught that we should:

And, love your neighbor as yourself.

Luke 10:27

One day, a particular smartypants, a very religious man who wanted to make himself look good at Jesus' expense, asked, who is my neighbor? (Luke 10:29)

As was His practice, Jesus told a story. Tapping into his Jewish audience's prejudice, He told a story about a racial group they hated and despised: Samaritans!

Jews HATED Samaritans. They were ceremonially unclean. If their shadow fell on them, they would be unclean. Jews believed that if a Samaritan woman entered one of their villages, the whole village would be unclean. They believed their hate was God ordained!

A regular prayer of thanksgiving for Jewish people was: God, I thank you that I was not born a woman or a Samaritan.

Sooo... Jesus tells a story of terror and hardship where, of all people, a Samaritan saves the day. The story positions the Samaritan as the hero. He then forces the smarty pants to admit that the Samaritan hero was the true neighbor. "Good" and "Samaritan" were not two words Jews would put together!

Our neighbor, defined by Jesus' story in Luke 10, is someone who is nothing like us and is a part of another culture group outside of ours.

Selah, pause and think about what it means to be a neighbor!

A neighbor is someone totally different than me.

A neighbor is someone who is not a part of my cultural group.

A neighbor is someone who I may have little in common with.

Who might be a neighbor to an affluent white businessman?

A poor black welfare mother who survives on food-stamps and subsidized housing.

Who might be a neighbor to an affluent black female?

An overweight white man who puts a pinch of tobacco between his cheek and gums and drives a pickup with a bumper sticker that says, "My kid beat up your honor roll student!"

Jesus' story explains why you and I hold the value of serving our beneficiaries and our donors so high. His story explains why fundraising matters to us supremely.


Your mission as a nonprofit leader involves helping people love their neighbors! Our mission, as fundraisers is to help people who live their lives sitting at one table with people just like themselves to consider leaving their table and being a part of someone's life who is totally not like them!

When we invite people to love on people not like themselves, we are facilitating the divine command:

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all our strength, and all your mind.

And, love your neighbor as yourself.

Luke 10:27

Helping people love their neighbors makes us a special breed!

Fundraising lifts us up into the divine role of helping people love others like they love themselves.

It makes us true followers of Jesus!

Truly, as a fundraiser you are not begging, you are not pleading, you are inviting humanity to partner with Providence to address injustice, right wrongs and to leave the world we found, a better place. As fundraisers, we are playing a divine role in helping people love their neighbors!



Thank you for your commitment to see our neighbors loved!


P.S. I have created a new resource for fundraisers in the faith community, Faith To Ask. Walk with me through the history of scripture and be challenged to see yourself as a visionary fundraiser working with God for His divine purposes. You will begin to see that you are one of long line of visionary history makers like Jesus, Paul the Apostle, King David, Elijah, and more. In the course I walk you through the stories of scripture and challenge you to see them from the vantage point of a fundraiser. Likely, this is something you have never done. Looking at these old stories in a new way will fill you with the faith to approach your fundraising with a new zeal and joy. CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT

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