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A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. - Luke 10:30 (NLT)
I have never beaten anyone up. There were a few times in my youthful days when competitive tensions almost ended in fisticuffs; fortunately, tempers always subsided and I made it through my more angst-ridden years without ever truly coming to blows with anyone.
But I have been beaten up. Not physically, mind you. No, the beating I received was emotional. It was spiritual. Relational. I endured a season not too long ago that was unlike anything I had ever been through before - one which left me half dead on the side of the road, unsure if I’d ever be able to walk the same way again.
Over a six-month span, I was wounded time and time again. Like a tenderizer pounding a piece of meat, breaking down its connective tissue, my spirit was pummeled. I was being broken down, losing connections to those around me and even to the hopes, dreams, and assumptions I had long held with optimism and care. When it was all said and done, I was broken. My heart, my joy, my passion: it was all a bloodied mess.
In the wake of that pain, I needed someone to carry me, to walk with me a while, to care for my wounds with the salve of empathy and grace. And honestly, that person could have been anyone. I wasn’t picky - I couldn’t be. I’d have gladly been put to my feet by any person willing to see my woundedness, to stop and sit a while, to help me back up.
Friends, the broken are not picky. Those around us who are marginalized, wounded, grieving, scarred, impoverished - they aren’t looking for perfection. More often than not, when we’re hurting we just want to be seen, to be heard, to be held for a while, to know that somebody cares.
Are you hurting? Our Care Team wants to help you get back up. Contact them today.Share Tweet
By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. - Luke 10:31-32 (NLT)
My youngest son is trying to establish his two-year-old independence, so he likes to disagree with everything. Even the most obvious question or statement will be met by contradiction:
“Look, Matthew, it’s raining!”
“No, it not raining. It dry.”
“Matthew, do you want a bite of this apple?”
“That not an apple. That a banana.”
The kid can’t call an apple an apple simply because he wants to be the one making the rules!
Jesus talks a lot about fruit as well. He says you’ll know a tree by the kind of fruit it bears. If a tree is labeled as an apple tree but has bananas growing from its branches, you can be sure you’re looking at a banana tree.
Likewise, the people of God are known by their love. If someone wears the name Christian but doesn’t love and serve those around him, something doesn’t quite add up.
We’re seeing an interesting political phenomenon in our country right now. Individuals and affiliations who for decades have been making up their own rules about what it means to be “Christian” are now being exposed in all kinds of immoral scandals. Worse, they respond with ugly rhetoric in efforts to maintain power and position.
Jesus makes a point of calling out this kind of hypocrisy for what it is. Though the priest and the Temple assistant should know their primary directive is to love God by loving others, they callously ignore the most basic needs of a dying man. In elevating their own self-righteousness above concern for a fellow human, they fail to grasp what the kingdom of God is all about.
True religion means caring for the most vulnerable around us. If you’re not actively looking for ways to see and serve those in need, try connecting with one of Southland’s Local Outreach teams.Share Tweet
Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. - Luke 10:33 (NLT)
When I was in fourth grade my family moved to Leuven, Belgium for a year. We were fully immersed in the culture and I became fluent in the Flemish language within a few short months. One of the traditions we picked up quickly was the pre-meal toast. After a mealtime prayer, the host would say, “Smakelijk!” (pronounced, SMACK-uh-lick). The rest of the diners would echo, “Smakelijk!” before digging into the food. It’s a super fun word to say, and its impact only increases as the declaration becomes more robust!
Smakelijk is a word of blessing. It means, “eat well.” It is the Flemish equivalent of the French, “bon appétit.” Strong words like that amuse me. It’s fun to raise a fork or a glass and declare, “Smakelijk!” or “Mazel tov!”
One of my favorite Greek words in the Bible is, “splagchnizomai,” (pronounced, splawnk-NITZ-oh-my). I can envision the best man at a wedding reception toasting the newlyweds by hollering, “Splagchnizomai!” It just sounds great!
But “splagchnizomai” has little to do with parties and empty well-wishes. It actually translates to our word for compassion. It refers to a deep, guttural aching that moves one person to have pity on another.
In this parable, the Samaritan, though he was despised because of his ethnicity, was moved to the point of pity when he saw the man lying half-dead by the side of the road. His heart ached. He had compassion. Splagchnizomai.
Splagchnizomai is the posture of Jesus. Time and again during His ministry, Jesus has compassion. He sees the multitudes, He sees the sick, He sees the lost… then He heals, welcomes, and provides. Compassion sees, feels, then acts.
Splagchnizomai should be the posture of the people of God. We should be marked by a movement towards those in need.
At any given moment there are nearly 9,000 children in Kentucky in foster care. Globally there are more than 150 million orphans. Splagchnizomai. Visit orphancarealliance.org to learn how you can do something to help a child in need.Share Tweet
Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, “Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here. - Luke 10:34-35 (NLT)
I’ve noticed there are two questions I ask myself frequently. Sometimes they pass through my head in an instant, almost subconsciously, without any thoughtful deliberation; other times they linger in the forefront, demanding a response. The questions are simple:
How can I afford this?
What is this going to cost me?
Both serve to evaluate resources and determine the value something has to me, personally.
The first question is usually asked when there is something I want (i.e., “The new iPhone is out? How can I afford it?”)
The second question usually frames my decision-making when the outcome benefits someone other than me. How much time, money, energy, etc. will it cost to invest in this person’s needs? In short, asking this question serves to rationalize my way out of helping someone else.
One question exalts and prioritizes self, the other allows me to keep compassion at arm’s length. Neither crossed the mind of the Samaritan man.
Jesus reframes our priorities. When we say, “yes,” to following Jesus, we make a clear statement: this will cost me. Not only do we create margins of time and money to benefit those in need, we actually seek out opportunities to give and to serve. The Samaritan man did not concern himself with the cost of helping a stranger in need. He gave whatever time, physical energy, and financial resources were needed to make a difference.
See a need, meet a need. What if all the followers of Jesus lived with that kind of selfless generosity?
Do you need help getting your finances on track so you can be more free to live generously? Contact Candy to inquire about a financial mentor.Share Tweet
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes. Now go and do the same.” - Luke 10:36-37 (NLT)
Not long ago I was sitting at a stoplight waiting for it to turn green. As I waited I did the unthinkable: I took out my cell phone and began scrolling Facebook. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to be on your phone while operating a motor vehicle; I guess I just figured I couldn’t actually drive distracted if I wasn’t, technically, “driving” at that particular moment. Idling while distracted seems pretty harmless.
Unfortunately, I was a little distracted. When the light finally turned green, I didn’t immediately see it. Not two seconds passed before the driver behind me expressed his immense impatience by means of some rather aggressive horn-honking.
Point taken. Green means go. To stay put when you’re given a “go” signal undermines the whole idea of driving from point “A” to point “B.”
The parable of the good Samaritan begins with a question: “How do I gain eternal life?” Jesus answers, “Go and love your neighbor. Go and show mercy to anyone in need. Go and unleash the love of the Father on those around you.”
Unfortunately, we, the followers of Jesus, complicate this a little too much. Our schedules are too busy, so we don’t go. We don’t have financial margin, so we don’t give. Our plans are too neat, so we don’t want to be disrupted. There is no official church program to deal with the need we see, so we act like we don’t know what to do. All the while, Jesus stands behind us gently reminding us that the signal has changed. “You want eternal life? You want abundant life? You want Me?” He whispers. “Go. Love your neighbor.”
Friends, the light is green. The signal is clear. Go. Show mercy. Unleash love.