Tomorrow would be a big day for Roberto. He would make the thirteen mile drive into town, take the Oath of Allegiance, and become a United States citizen. But tonight it was cold, very cold, and the power was out in a four state area.
For those of you who have never lived in frigid weather, allow me to explain the problem Roberto faced. After sitting overnight in super-cold temperatures, car engines often refuse to start. Modern automotive science has provided a simple solution, a gadget called a block heater. Install it under the hood, plug it in overnight, and bingo, you’re good to go in the morning.
Unless there’s no electricity… Then what?
Roberto’s neighbors came up with a solution. They set up a roster. They pulled together. From midnight ‘til morning, a different neighbor trudged through the cold to Roberto’s home each hour and started his car. When morning came, Roberto was able to become a U.S. citizen as planned.
How willing are we to “brave the cold for our neighbors?” You already know the verse I’m going to quote, but here it is anyway.
Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest and answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
Neighbors aren’t always nice. And they aren’t always right next door. Sometimes your neighbor is actually a sick child (maybe not even your own child), a grumpy friend or a co-worker with whom you just never seem to see eye-to-eye. In all cases, Jesus—the one who died for us–asks us to love them.
Love doesn’t always mean feeling all mushy inside. Love can be inconvenient, difficult or even painful. A lot of the time love means braving the cold.