Luke Chapter 10
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him],
34 And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
As I opened my bible yesterday morning and contemplated what devotional should be this week, I saw the story of the good Samaritan. As i read the verses, I was touched, not only by the story, but in realizing that I am NOT a good Samaritan! I though I was. For my friends and family I would do anything, but for strangers i am not as quick to have that compassion. I have a feeling I’m not alone.
As I read and reread the scripture, I realized the lawyer was, literally, justifying himself when he asked “Who is my neighbor?”. This is exactly what I was doing, justifying my lack of compassion for strangers by assuming they were not my responsibility.
The man who traveled to Jericho was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. He must have looked like a bum and a beggar, but he wasn’t. All he needed was help from someone. A priest and a Levite passed by him “on the other side”, they didn’t even want to get close to him. How would those two men have felt if they knew how he got there? I wonder how I would feel if I knew how all the people I’ve encountered in my life got to where they were when they asked me for help. I don’t know their stories, but if I did, I would’ve had more compassion for them. That’s what this story is really about, having COMPASSION for everyone you meet.
There isn’t much detail on the Samaritan who finally did have some compassion for the poor man, but I like to think he was just an average person, like me and you. He doctored the man, carried him to a room where he could return to health, and even spent his own money to ensure that he would be cared for after the good Samaritan left. How many of us can say that we would have done the same?
I know the world is a different place these days, with people trying at every corner to get something for free. That’s why I struggle! I am and always have been a hard working person. My family taught me that if you can’t earn something, you don’t want it bad enough, and I’m raising my children to believe the same thing. However, we cannot let the bad people in this world to cause us to loose our compassion for everyone. God says to give, expecting nothing in return.
In the end, the lawyer learned that a neighbor can be anyone, willing to help. He probably also learned that there is no outsmarting the Lord. But I hope that, like me, the story spoke to that lawyer and helped him to see how easily he could have been the man robbed and beaten. I hope he thought, like I have, about how I would have felt as a Priest walked by me in disgust. The hopelessness that man must have felt by the time the Samaritan came along is sad. I was inspired by the Samaritan and I think the lawyer knew what he should go, and do likewise.
After studying the story of the good Samaritan, I am making a commitment to myself and to God to be a more compassionate person. Stories like this continue to inspire me and the wisdom they hold is timeless. I hope these words have inspired you as well. Are you a good Samaritan? Could you become one after reading the story? Let me know what you think in the comments below.