A few weeks ago, my husband and I began teaching Sunday School at our home church. The first lesson in our curriculum was focused on Luke 10:25-37, the story of the Good Samaritan.
I know what you’re thinking. If you’ve grown up in the church, I totally get that you’ve heard this story a million times before. But one of the beautiful things about Scripture is that if your heart is willing to hear from God, He will teach you something new each time you read the Bible, regardless of how many times you’ve read the same passage before.
As I was re-reading this story, I remembered a sermon I heard over the same topic years ago as a college student and the important truths that I took away from it.
Let’s take a deeper look at what’s so special about this guy whom Jesus refers to as the Good Neighbor.
The Good Neighbor looks for opportunity rather than objection.
Do you look at the chance of helping someone as an opportunity or as an obstacle? In this day and age, it’s perfectly common to post a status update about the passing of a loved one or any number of obstacles one might go through. It’s simply the quickest way to get word around about what’s going on with our lives. A number of us will, of course, “like” or “comment” on these statuses, sharing encouragement or Bible verses or letting people know we’re praying for them.
But how many of us go beyond that?
Are we quick to give up our money, time or other resources to help others who are hurting? That’s what the Good Neighbor did. He saw a need, and he met it. Keep this in mind:
People who experience God’s love become expressions of God’s love.
How can you express the love of God to someone that you know is hurting?
The Good Neighbor is moved by compassion rather than convenience.
It would have been easy for the Good Neighbor to pretend he hadn’t seen a thing. In fact, to stop and help someone on this particular road (which was full of thieves) was a very inconvenient thing to do. However, in verse 33 we see that the Good Neighbor saw this hurting man and was “moved with compassion.” He didn’t care that it was inconvenient. What he knew was that this poor guy needed help and he was going to meet that need.
For many of us, it’s convenient to keep people at arm’s length. We don’t want to get dragged into the drama of dealing with others’ problems, so the easiest, most convenient thing to do is to simply not care. But that doesn’t reflect the heart of God at all. In fact, it’s the opposite of what He has called His children to do.
“Let my heart be broken for the things that break the heart of God.” | Bob Pierce
The Good Neighbor gives in excess rather than to exit.
To say that the Good Neighbor simply helped this hurting man is a crazy understatement. Scripture says he cleaned his wounds, bandaged him up, lifted him onto his own donkey, and took him to an inn to be cared for. He then paid for his expenses and told the inn keeper to take care of him and that he would return to take care of the rest of this stranger’s expenses later on.
Can you imagine a stranger taking care of you like that? I certainly couldn’t. We live in a day and age where we all mind our own business and don’t seem concerned for the needs of others. But this guy? He gives to this man he barely even knows, in excess. No holding back, no wondering whether this guy is legit or scamming him, without any concern for his bank account.
He simply gives.
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” | Luke 10:36-37
One of the craziest parts of this whole story is that these two men didn’t even know each other. I mean sure, maybe if these guys were good buddies that did life together and hung out all the time it would make sense! But they were strangers. Just like us.
We were strangers to God. We didn’t know Him, and we were doing life on our own. But God, out of the goodness and abundance of His heart, saw that we were broken, hurting and in a need of serious TLC.
He is the ultimate Good Neighbor.
And through this story, He’s teaching us how we can be one too.