This week’s theme is compassion. It started with the message on Sunday from the book Believe by Randy Frazee. We visited the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10. I’m sure you recall how the “religious” men passed by the one left for dead, but one man Samaritan man stopped. We could look down on those men who did not stop. We could get self-righteous about how we wouldn’t do such a thing. We might believe we are more like the Samaritan than the religious men. The Samaritan actually did more than required. He took the man an inn; paid for room and board and any essentials the injured man would need in order to heal. He even told the inn keeper he would reimburse him for any extra that the injured man needed when the Samaritan passed that way again.
We could place ourselves in the story as the one who stops, but that’s really not the case. Our place in the story is the one who was beaten and left for dead. We are the ones broken in need of a healer. Jesus is the Samaritan man who stops what He is doing and goes to the one who needs help. Jesus is shown throughout the Gospels as the one who had compassion on the men and women He encountered; He always stopped to help those in need. Many times the Gospel writers would tell of Jesus’ compassion for the one who has stopped Him. The Good Samaritan had mercy on the broken man just as Jesus has mercy on us as broken people.
But right after the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10, we find another story about two sisters; Mary and Martha who invited Jesus into their home. Mary was at the feet of Jesus listening to His every word, which when you think about it, this was not done in those times. Women were not taught like the men. The men gathered around teachers but the women were always in the background. They were like Martha who did the work that needed to be done in order for the teacher and the men to have everything they needed. Martha was playing her part but Mary wasn’t. Mary was in the midst of the men; she was out-of-place. This just wasn’t done in those days, but Jesus changed how men and women related to Him and to others. Jesus turned everything upside down.
Martha pointed out Mary’s place to Jesus, but Jesus pointed out Martha’s place. Martha didn’t know Jesus was turning things upside down. Martha didn’t realize that Jesus was elevating women to a new place in society. However, this isn’t the story of elevating women. This is the story of how we all need to sit at the feet of Jesus. We all need to learn from Him if we are to have compassion for our neighbors. This world is desperate for compassion. Societies will not change unless we show compassion as Jesus did.
I was reminded in my quiet time on Tuesday, in Paul’s letter to the Philippians pointed to Christ serving in humility. Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant (2:6). Paul wrote to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (2:3). When we consider compassion, we look at others – not with judgment – but with humility. That could be us in that situation.
The Good Samaritan saw the man on the side of the road recognizing that it could easily have been him in that same situation. Every person walking that particular road could be beaten, robbed and left for dead. The Good Samaritan showed the man mercy by not only taking pity on him, but provided for him in his hour of need. He did for the man what he wanted to be done for him if he too found himself in that situation. Sounds like the “Golden Rule” to me. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is how I learned Matthew 7:12.
Compassion and love are the foundation of how we are to be good neighbors to those we meet on our paths. The religious men who passed by may have sat under great teaching but there were not good doers of the Word they learned. Learning has to be put to good use. There is a time for sitting and a time for doing. We all have a little Mary and Martha in us, but we first need to get the right priorities. Sit first then do. It’s the only way we will feel compassion and love for the people we will encounter today. But also, the beauty of this message is that we are invited into His story. We get to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We can become the Good Samaritan to someone today.
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NLT)
Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher. Luke 6:40 (NLT)