Who Is My Neighbor? (The Least, Last, Lost, and Chapati)

If maintaining a relationship with Jesus means loving my neighbor, who is my neighbor?  The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 tells us my neighbor is anyone of any age, race, or social standing.  The person is anyone in need and love means meeting the person’s needs.  Here’s a personal story with a few photos.

My son Zach and daughter-in-law Brooke are in the process of adopting a Ugandan boy I’ll call “M” and last year I was privileged to spend a month in Uganda with Zach and my future grandson.  One morning while there I pulled up a Words With Friends game with my wife Beth on my iPhone and noticed I had letters to spell LEAST, LAST, or LOST.  That got me thinking about an event that happened the day before. 

The three of us had taken boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) to lunch in the town’s main restaurant and business area.  After getting a bite to eat, we decided to walk by shops, even though we knew we'd be constantly barraged from the shop owners trying to get us to buy things.  We were about ready to go when a rain cloud let loose.  Not wanting to ride home on motorcycles in the downpour, we waited under an overhang to let the shower pass.

As we were waiting a small boy maybe around 10 years old appeared out of nowhere and stood within a few feet of us not saying a word.  There are street kids there, homeless boys, and this one looked like he could be one.  We waited five or so minutes for the rain to stop and Zach asked M if he wanted chapati, a type of flatbread he loves.  As we turned to walk a block to the shop with chapati, Zach asked the boy if he wanted some.  He nodded yes and we motioned to him to come along.

As Zach went into the shop, I asked the boy his name and we had a brief conversation.  He was difficult to understand so I asked him about football (soccer) and he immediately said he likes to play, his favorite team is Manchester United, and a few other comments.  He had a slight smile when talking.  It’s funny how a sport can be a bond. 

Zach came out with the chapati and gave it to the boy.  The boy politely said thanks and walked away enjoying the food.  I noticed he glanced back at us when he was crossing the street.  We didn't know his situation or if he's homeless, but we knew his stomach would be a little fuller from the kindness of a stranger. 

Something the Bible has taught me is loving my neighbor includes the least, the last, and the lost and caring for widows and orphans.  In today's world, I imagine we can insert the word "homeless".  Neither Zach nor I know if the boy was an orphan or homeless, but what we do know is the gesture of feeding this child chapati goes to show that caring can be a small and inexpensive random act of kindness, something disciples of Jesus Christ are called to do.

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Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: A Light to My Path

About the Author
Rob Wall is a member of Calvary UMC.