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(vs. 33) but a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.
This story has been preached in countless pulpits and taught in innumerable classrooms and yet there is something about this parable that we’ve missed or perhaps we simply need to be reminded. If we are not careful we will develop the attitude of the priest & Levite and be guilt of looking down on those with a Samaritan’s heart.
Is your heart full to running over with compassion? In the Greek the word compassion means: to have the bowels yearn.
So I ask you, what stirs you up? What breaks your heart? What stirs you from within?
Do you stand passionately to save the whales?
Do you toss a quarter to the homeless man on the quarter in an attempt to ease your priestly conscience?
Do you cross the street to avoid someone who does not fit into your copasetic Levite world?
Do you stand against abortion – carry the sign or preach against it from the pulpit, but turn your back on the teenager who opted not to abort the child?
What stirs you? What breaks your heart? When is the last time your heart was broken with compassion? How did you respond?
Did you determine there was really nothing you could do to make the situation better for the person, so you patted them on the back and let them know you were praying, and walked away without any further feelings.
The priest and Levite attended church and performed all the aspects of religion to the letter of the law. The dressed right and spoke right, but their heart was not right.
The Samaritan on the other hand was a fellow from the other side of the tracks. He understood a broken heart and compassion yearned within him; which enabled him to reach out and perform acts of love!
The religious zealots said all the right words but when it came down to brass tacks they either:
1. Didn’t want to be bothered
2. Didn’t want to soil their clothes with the man’s blood
3. Was afraid someone from the church would see them
4. If they stopped and helped would be late for the evening service where they were speaking on ‘brotherly love.’
5. All of the above
You see, it’s not enough to say the right things – it wasn’t when Jesus told this parable and it isn’t today. We must show ‘love.’
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he have faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not the things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. James 2:14-16
It sounds good to tell someone you will pray for them (and it is good to pray for them), but what about feeding them if you know they are hungry?
We are passionate about ‘things’ and ‘campaigns’ while our neighbors are hungry. We head up the parade for ‘save the trees’ but won’t take the time to help the person sitting behind you in church.
Many are destitute within our circle of influence. Many are hungry within our churches. Many have been plundered by the enemy and left for dead. How do we respond?
Some have been so bold as to say to me, ‘you can’t save them all.’ While there is an element of truth to this, we also must take a step back and understand that we were once like the man that fell among thieves.
The enemy had taken everything from me and left me for dead. Many people crossed the street to avoid contact and there were a few preachers and church members that proclaimed hopelessness, but an unlikely fellow happened by. He wasn’t from the church, but rather the other side of the tracks. In fact, he’d tried to attend a few of the services in town, but wasn’t welcomed; yet here he was, looking down at me. I was battered, torn and bruised. I had been left for dead. Nevertheless, this man from the other side of the tracks, stopped – while everyone else passed – he climbed off his donkey! He bound up my wounds and poured in oil & wine. He carried me to the inn and paid the price!
While others said all the right things and walked right on by he uttered the words I will pay the price.
The man poured in oil and wine! The angels must have held their breath as Compassion reached down and paid the debt and uttered the words, IT IS FINISHED!
© Jounda LaMance-Wadley March 30, 2006
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