Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stop Waiting for a Good Samaritan and Be One!

Source: Jan Wijnants

This morning I was reading the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) as part of my daily reading for The Ministry of Motherhood Bible study I am doing with Good Morning Girls. Now I have read this parable many many times, but this time I was struck by something I had never noticed before. {Isn't it amazing how we can read God's Word over and over again and always find something new to revel in? That's why the Bible has been and will always be a bestseller.}

Just to refresh your memory:

In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus is confronted by an expert in the law who asks:
"'Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'" (verse 25)
When Jesus asks him what the Law says, the law expert rightly quotes the passages from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. This man knows the Law--remember, he's an "expert"--but he doesn't really know the law. Like the other Pharisees with whom he associates, he can recite the Law backwards and forwards, but he doesn't truly comprehend what the Law requires. He doesn't recognize his own human limitations in meeting the Law's requirements. If he did then surely he would have been down on his knees confessing his sins asking for forgiveness. There is no way we can truly love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and love others as we love ourselves. If we could, then we would have no need for a Savior. We can try, but we will always fall short.

Instead, the law expert, who "wanted to justify himself," asks Jesus:
"'And who is my neighbor?'" (verse 29)
I can almost hear this man sneering as he asks Jesus this. It's as if he's really asking, "And who is righteous enough to deserve my love?"

But Jesus, of course, has the perfect response: He tells a story about a man who would have been hated by the law expert. This Samaritan was considered by the Pharisees to be an enemy of God, yet Jesus chooses him, and not the Levite or the priest, as an example of a true neighbor. The Samaritan's actions toward the beaten man reflect a compassionate, merciful, and generous person who looked beyond racial, ethnic, and religious differences. How beautiful is that picture of true servanthood!

Yet it is how Jesus turns the law expert's question around on him that really spoke to me. The law expert did not expect Jesus' response. Jesus asks the man:
"'Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?'" (verse 36)
He answers the law expert by saying, in effect, "You have a duty to be a neighbor to others, especially those in need. Stop worrying about who ought to be a neighbor to you, and be a neighbor to others."

Isn't that so like Jesus to turn the attention off of ourselves and onto someone else? It's easy to ask what someone else can do for me when I should be asking myself what I can do for others. For me, it's a continuous struggle to combat my selfish nature, and yet if I want to be like Christ, then it's a necessity.

Do you find that sometimes you have the attitude of the law expert, wanting to justify your own situation instead of loving and serving others as you should?

Do you ever act like the priest and the Levite, neglecting those who most need your help because you just don't have time or you don't want to get involved?

Do you have a heart for service but come up with excuse after excuse for not acting?

Fortunately, we have a merciful Savior who loves us even when we fall short and who encourages us in our weaknesses. Being a good Samaritan is not easy, but as Christians, we have a responsibility, just like that law expert, to be a neighbor to others.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

Galatians 6:9-10
This post is linked to Women in the Word Wednesdays.


  1. My passion is being a good Samaritan -- only I call it sheltering. I don't ever want to miss an opportunity to help someone in need.

    I had a blowout Monday and the tire actually came lose from the rim. Before my husband could get to me a young man -- probably still in his teens-- stopped to help me. It was a joy to see someone so young care about others.

  2. Wow! That is incredible that a teenage boy stopped to help you. His parents must be proud! I like "sheltering"; it's a comforting word and very appropriate! Thanks for stopping by and sharing.