Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ghost Town

"Just who is my neighbor?" - Luke 10:29

Bertram Pincas (Ricky Gervais), the central character in Ghost Town, really doesn't like people. He avoids conversations with co-workers, neighbors, or anyone he meets throughout his day. Pincas would rather spend life alone than meeting or talking with anyone.

But due to a seven-second brush with death during a routine colonoscopy, he ironically becomes the only living person that dozens of ghosts in New York can actually talk to.

For the rest of the movie, these ghosts (led by a pestering, tuxedo-clad Frank, played by Greg Kinnear) become the first real relationships that Bertram Pincas has had in ages. At first he resists these new people; then he accomodates them just to get them to go away; but eventually he learns to talk to them - and through them, learns to talk to the living (including a budding love interest, played by Tea Leoni).

In a world of six billion people, some of which might annoy or frustrate us, it might be tempting to block out all but a few friends.

Building relationships with people requires work and humility, two sacrifices we may not enjoy making. We might say we're too busy in our lives to concentrate on new friendships or even have the time to develop those networks. Even with the blessings of Facebook and online social networking, many still struggle to deepen the relationships we already have.

But no matter how busy or frustrated we are, humans were created by God for one another. God would not give life to six billion people unless He wanted us to live for each other.

Let us learn the lesson that Bertram Pincas had to die for seven seconds to learn. Let us start smiling, talking to, and building relationships with those around us - from the guy in the elevator to the new person at the office, from the woman behind the counter to our own estranged family members at the holidays.

And added to that, find opportunities to meet new people: join a local sports league, get involved in your church, or become connected to your community.

When Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself," someone once asked him, "And just who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:29), Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan. In other words, your neighbor could be anyone. In the parable of Ghost Town, the same can be said: go and love your neighbor... a friend, an acquaintance, or the next person you meet today.

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