I wonder how many of you can remember this song, “When I needed a neighbour were you there, were you there, when I needed a neighbour were you there…?” I’ve been thinking about this song based on Matt 25:31-46. It’s interesting that when we are hurting, when we are troubled, anxious about something we often search for somebody out to help us. We need a neighbour. But then there is the reverse side when we too need to be a neighbour. In a busy world today with all the anxieties that are coming at us, it seems from ever increasing angles, trying to focus on being a neighbour seems almost impossible.
I was watching an episode of NCIS (an America crime show) and there is a scene where a father is dying and his very young daughter is there and she asks him ‘is he dying’ to which he says ‘yes!’. Then he explains it we’re all dying and it’s not really about how we die that he wants her to focus on it’s how we live that matters. And then he talks about how important it is for her to look for ‘helpers’ in her life; people that will walk with her, even in the most difficult times. And then he finishes by saying that she too will then learn to become a ‘helper’.
In our communities sometimes we can become very inward looking even individually inward looking. This approach to life, Christ points out, is not the route to happiness. He calls us to be ‘helpers’ not just because people need help but also in helping others, we fulfil our very own existence. It comes back to how we live our lives and helping others is one of the greatest ways for us to live our life. The father was correct, death comes to all of us – but when it does can we answer yes to these words… “When I needed a neighbour were you there were you there… ?