And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back. ’
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37
This story, is possibly the most famous of all the stories Jesus told. We use the phrase, ‘being a good samaritan’ as every day language. It has been re-enacted many times. At one top US college, I forget which, the lecturer of an ethics class was made up to look as if he had been beaten up just round the corner to the lecture hall.
All his students hurried by not wanting to be late for the lecture. Needless to say that was an interesting class!
It is said that a potential pastor of a church dressed as a homeless man and waited outside his potentially new church. It is said that not one person assisted or helped him in. I bet that made ‘preaching with a view’ more interesting!
Why have we have relegated this story to Sunday school? On so many levels this story is as relevant to you and I as adults as it is to the youngster in our churches. Perhaps more so. You see, it’s message is simple, however it is one of the hardest things to do.
How do you make the call? Who do you stop for? Where I live is a seaside town. As we are coming into summer we seem to have a rise in homeless people. There were less in the town when the winter was here, but now the sun and the beach are calling…
Who do you help? I don’t want to walk past those truly in need. I don’t want my resources to be used by one who doesn’t really need it so that I can’t help the one who really does. It is not easy.
What happens when someone stumbles in front of you as you are heading somewhere important? Do you stop, call an ambulance, settle them, stay with them etc? Or do you hope that someone else saw. Someone with a less important day than yours is?
How far are we prepared to go in helping out someone who is in need? Our time, our finances, long term, short term?
And finally, if we turn this slightly sideways, everyone of our friends and family, work colleagues and neighbours need us. They are lying battered and bloodied at the side of the highway of life, the devil has picked off the physical health, their mental health, their hopes and dreams. He has beaten them black and blue through he years, just like he did us.
Once we were lonely, hopeless and helpless but someone stopped for us. Someone stopped and led us to the inn. The inn where Jesus was waiting for us. Jesus said, “Its OK. I have already covered the cost to see you made well. Your dignity restored. Your health restored. Your abundance restored.”
Jesus has patched us up, paid for us to recover and head on the journey of life with Him as our travelling companion. Is it not right that we stop and do for others what was once done for us? Do you believe that Jesus is so busy in your life that if you stop, change the direction, take time to help someone, He is going to say, “What are you doing? You had a client to meet, the gym to go to, a coffee date with a friend, why did you stop to help someone, what will I do now?”
I do not think that you will ever out give God. If you stop for the person that needs help and it costs you a meeting, I believe that God will find you a better meeting. If you sacrifice your reputation in oder to help someone of no reputation, I reckon God can deal with that too.
I can’t think of any situation where, by stopping to help, by offering to go the extra mile, by being the good samaritan, you will experience long term harm or detriment.
Let us love the Lord your God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind, and our neighbour as ourself and see how different our lives become, for this is the way of the Kingdom of Heaven.
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