As a church and in my personal study, we've seen how God has called us to serve Him as a disciple. It's easy to come up with excuses and reasons not to serve God as we should. It's also easy to allow our flesh and our own agendas to limit our service to God. The story of the Good Samaritan is a classic passage that is connected at the core to serving God. By loving others and serving them, we love and serve God.
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Several questions came to mind when considering this passage on serving our neighbour.
1. Do we genuinely care?
The context of this passage is directly linked to the compassion of the Samaritan. This story is an answer to a pharisaical man who was not satisfied with Jesus' answer to love his neighbour as himself. It is the love of God that compels us to have love for others. Although the Pharisees said they loved God, they did not show that love to others.
I John 4:20
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
2. Are we looking for the opportunity?
Two other men, who could have helped, passed by before the Samaritan stopped to help. Sometimes we let our own agendas and plans become our focus and don't even look around at the opportunities to serve our neighbours. If we are honest, there are times where we simply are not looking for ways to help others.
3. Will we take the time?
No doubt the Samaritan lost much of his personal time in helping the wounded traveler. On the other hand, the Samaritan also found time to help along his way. It is often along our path that God will place people for us to help.
4. Will we spare our finances?
Whether we like it or not, our world and society operate on a monetary exchange. Our money is not always (if not rarely) needed to serve our neighbour. However, sometimes our finances can help our neighbour. As we are financially able, this passage shows that we can and should gladly help others at our own expense.
5. Are we willing to overcome our fear?
There was danger to the one who helped the wounded traveler. The same thieves who wounded the traveler could certainly attack anyone who stopped to help. Helping people can be a risk to us in many ways. Perhaps it's fear of embarrassment, rejection, or being misunderstood. Whatever the case, we shouldn't let concern for ourselves restrain us from serving others.
6. Are we willing to serve outside our prejudice?
The Jews and the Samaritans had not only racial prejudice towards each other, but social and personal prejudice as well. We might say that racial prejudice isn't a factor for us. But if we are honest, social differences sometimes keep us from serving without reservation. Maybe we struggle to speak to people of a perceived different status or culture? Or maybe how someone is dressed or acts keeps up from ministering to them? Maybe we even decline serving someone because of something they did to us? Whatever the case, Jesus had no reservation serving us on the cross. Despite all of our dirtiest sins, He showed us the most compassionate love.
"... Go, and do thou likewise."
Written by Aaron Lanier