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Archive for the tag “Good Samaritan”

Imitating the Teacher

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)

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Take the Time

For the last twenty-five years, my family has gathered at the beach for our annual vacation. There are now four generations gathered in one house for a week. We asked a few years ago if everyone still wanted to do this, and it was a vehement YES! My nephews have grown up with this annual tradition and were not about to let it go anytime soon. It’s a pretty special time. For about ten years or so, the house was the same. But over time, we have outgrown houses as the family has grown.

This year, the house we are in is the same one we’ve had for the last four years. It’s quite different from all the others. All the others have the basic necessities. This house is different because the owners are gifted in hospitality. Everything you would possibly need for a week’s stay is provided – not only all the small appliances, lots of pots and pans with ample dinnerware that could easily provide for a large family like ours.

But the real kicker that takes these owners over the top is the extras that are provided for our stay. One drawer is full of every type of plastic bag. There are storage containers of every size. One cabinet is filled with every spice you could imagine. Dish detergents, laundry supplies, cleaning supplies (even though we’re not required to clean); to me, it’s very thoughtful and much more than expected. I know we are paying for this hospitality, but the owners could provide the bare minimum – most do. They could get away with the bare minimum, but they have chosen to provide more.

When I heard Louie Giglio’s message about having an Open House, I thought of this house. Louie is teaching about the traits of a Jesus follower in his latest sermon series. We should exhibit hospitality as the norm. When Louie spoke about hospitality, I immediately thought of this beach house and its owners. These people know how to open their house to others. They share the blessings with others. Again, we’re paying for the blessings, but it’s more than what is expected. And yes, it’s evident the owners are Christian based on the scriptures placed around the house.

Louie says we should be known for our hospitality. We are supposed to do more than the bare minimum. We could do just what is expected of us, but what sets us apart are the extras that we provide for others on our paths. Most people love the ones who love them. Most people will be considerate of others to a certain degree. Most will give something for a cause or passion. But we are called to be different than what is expected.

Jesus gave us examples to live by. He taught with stories to show us how the Kingdom of God was represented on the earth. He taught the story of the Good Samaritan as an example of not only what He did for us, but how we are to treat others – our neighbors. The Samaritan not only bandaged the wound, but put the victim on his own donkey, took him to a place where the victim could heal and paid the price for the stay. Jesus said we are to do the things He has done. He gave us the example of serving when He stooped down to wash the disciples’ feet. Jesus taught to go the extra mile. If we have two tunics, give one to someone who has a need. We are to see a need and fulfill it.

I don’t know if you are like me, but that makes me feel uncomfortable. This gift of hospitality sounds much like generosity. By nature, it’s not who I am. I want to want this. I want to be different. I want to grow in this area. God gives us opportunities to grow in areas where we need to grow. The opportunity will most likely come from an uncomfortable place. We have to have eyes that see the opportunity. As the other two men who saw the victim passed him by, the Good Samaritan saw and stopped. He took the time to meet the need.

Louie pointed out in his message we are to be lights that are not hidden. Each day we are to let our light shine in the darkness. We are given these gifts to use them to draw others to God. Gifts are meant to be shared. We are told to be different – even if it means we have to get out of our comfortable place to do it. The house is a good reminder of who I need to become. Open and inviting. Willing to share what I have with others. To be the light to shine for Jesus and do what He did. To take the time to be a neighbor to someone today.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Man in the Road

Jesus told a parable concerning a man who fell into hands of robbers (found in Luke 10). The expert in the Law asked Jesus how to have eternal life. Jesus proceeded to tell a parable, a story about a man, a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan. I have always heard that we are to be like the Samaritan, to be a good neighbor. But what if we are the man in the road? We are the one who has been beaten and left for dead. Others have come by, but only one has come to have mercy on us. Jesus is represented as the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan’s heart went out to the one who was left for dead. He saw the man and took pity on him. He stopped to help him. He bandaged wounds and paid the price so that the man could get well.

I’ve heard this story so many times. The focus though has been on the Samaritan. We are to do as the Samaritan. However, the question was “what must be done to inherit eternal life,” the man did nothing to earn eternal life. He just lay there, beaten and broken. The Samaritan did all the work and paid the price. The man received the gift that was freely given. The true picture of Jesus – we do nothing to earn salvation. We wait on someone who can bind our wounds and heal us. We wait on someone to pay the price. That’s Jesus. There is nothing else that needs to be done because He said from the cross “it is finished!”

This message was shared from North Point Community Church. As I contemplated the message, I realized many times I always put myself in the wrong role of the story. It is first and foremost about Jesus. We just happen to be the recipient of the grace that He gives freely. The story will always be about Him. Everything in the Bible is about Him. We are to have a heart like His. He came to live within us when we received the gift of mercy, when He came to fix our brokenness, when He paid the price of our sins. All we have to do is just let Him in and do the work He wants to do in us and through us. Nothing else matters but Jesus. Once we get the right perspective, everything changes.

I keep thinking I am so good, but every time I think that I get the realization there is nothing good in me except Jesus. When I was on the road, I was beaten and broken. There was nothing I could ever do to make myself well. Jesus saved me from myself. The answer the expert was seeking was Jesus, he just didn’t get it. The expert quoted the right Law; he knew the right answer, but his heart was far from the truth of the Law. I can have the same attitude, I know what Scripture says, but I fail to put those things into practice. Jesus says to “Go and do likewise.” Love is an action verb. I have been bandaged and healed; now it’s time to help the others who are in the road to find the Good Samaritan.

He answered: “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, Love your neighbor as yourself.“

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” Luke 10:27-28

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