You’ve probably heard the term “Good Samaritan” before. Maybe in the news or conversations with friends. People who do something selfless or heroic are often labeled “The Good Samaritan,” although most people probably don’t even know what it means.
You might not know that the term comes from a story Jesus told in Luke 10:25-37. It’s about three guys and their response to a stranger in need who was fighting for his life after being robbed, stripped, beaten, and left for dead.
As he lay there dying, a priest happened to be traveling down the same road, and when he saw him, he crossed the street to the opposite side. He apparently had more important, godly things to do than love his neighbor and help someone in need.
After a little while, a second guy came strolling down the road. He was from the tribe of Levi. Which means he knew God’s word that commanded him to love his neighbor and was probably a pretty religious guy. But when he saw him naked, bleeding, and dying, he too crossed to the other side of the road and kept on trucking. Busy, busy!
I’m sure by now, the naked and bleeding man thought his time was up. So far, two grown men, who were supposed to be spiritual leaders, had simply looked at him and passed him by without a single care in the world.
“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.” (Luke 10:33-35)
We can all learn a lot about ourselves in this story. We’ve all been every person in it. Which one are you today? Two of these men were not like Jesus, but one of them was.
The question now is which one do you want to be? Would you rather be like Jesus?
If so, here are few steps to get there.
Have compassion for people.
Compassion means you have concern for the suffering and misfortune of others. It means you care about what’s going on in the lives of others. Just like the Samaritan. Is that you?
Care for people.
Caring for people is up close and personal. It’s hands-on. It’s compassion in action. When the Samaritan saw the man lying there, he didn’t say, “Oh, that’s so sad,” and ride off. Instead, he did something about it. That’s caring. You can’t do it from a distance or social media.
Sacrifice for people.
After the Samaritan saw the man, he cared for his immediate needs and sacrificed for him. Then, placing the man on his own donkey while he walked, he took time out of his busy schedule to make sure his care lasted.
Let me ask you a tough question. Are you the type of person who is too busy to be inconvenienced to have compassion and care for people? Is your life so busy that you are the only one on the schedule? The Samaritan sacrificed for this stranger just like Jesus sacrificed for you, and he calls us to do the same.
Be generous toward others.
Most people think they are generous. But in all reality, they’re not. It’s a generosity of the mind and word but not in deed.
The Samaritan used his resources and MONEY to place this man in a safe environment and get the care he needed. But he didn’t stop there. He went above and beyond and gave the innkeeper more money for more care. He gave his best.
In every circumstance, the Samaritan gave his best. Is that you? Too often, we just give our leftovers or garage sale fodder to God and others. But we are commanded to be like Jesus and give our best. Always considering others as “more significant than ourselves.” (Philippians 2:3-4)