We’ve covered a bunch of ground since we began our Good Samaritan talks. We’ve looked at how there is no more Ideal Samaritan than Jesus, how, in stark contrast to him we’re all pretty much Inadequate Samaritans with quite a replete repertoire of excuses for it, and then how we might get on a trajectory to become Improving Samaritans.
Finally, in light of all we’ve said, my question is, “Why we aren’t influencing our world toward our Savior Samaritan in a more powerful way?” Continue reading →
After all this talk of good samaritanism, the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question is “How do we get there?” I know I should be more rather than less like Jesus, which is different than being more or less like him. I know that I should be on an “Improving Samaritan” trajectory. I want to be the kind of selfless servant Jesus was, but how do I get there?
I’m not selfless by nature. I care mostly about myself, but if I’m “feeling it” and get a free moment or two I might stop and help someone, most typically someone who’s sort of like me. I prefer helping people who are like me, speak my language, and whose cultural ways are similar to mine. It’s a bonus if they don’t smell bad or have any objectionable idiosyncrasies. I know that’s not the way Jesus rolls, so how do I become more like him and less like me? Continue reading →
By comparison to the “Ideal Samaritan” we’re all quite “Inadequate Samaritans” don’t you think? Since we’re not very much like him, “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10) status seems a little too lofty to my ears, so I’d like to recommend that we at least aspire to the rank of “Improving Samaritans.”
Don’t forget, we’re playing a real-life game of “Follow the Leader.” Jesus wants us to follow him – copy him, if you will. That doesn’t mean we’re on a trajectory to become Junior Saviors, but we e shooting to be clearer signage that points people to him. As Improving Samaritans we want to love the Father and one another as he did. Continue reading →
“I don’t have time to help so-called ‘underserved’ people. I’m too busy just trying to raise my family and pay the mortgage.”
It says that the Samaritan came across the dying man “as he traveled.” He must have been on his way somewhere. The Jericho Road, colloquially called “The Bloody Pass” wasn’t anyone’s destination. You didn’t go there for a picnic and to see the sights. He found the victim while on his way to someplace else.
That’s where we may, if we care to notice, run into a lot of our divine appointments, on our way somewhere else. In order to meet the man’s need the Samaritan had to be willing to stop and be late to his next appointment. Maybe his lateness would cost him a contract or the ire of a customer or friend, but the bleeding man lying in front of him had a greater need than his need to be on time to wherever he was otherwise supposed to be. Continue reading →
We’ve established that, even if Jesus didn’t exactly intend his parable to point directly to the kind of Samaritan he would be, he would make an “Ideal Samaritan.” Looking at the way he treats thrashed people, if we’re honest, we see how far we are from that ideal and might even consider ourselves “Inadequate Samaritans.” In order to lower the volume on our nagging conscience we concoct some pretty creative excuses for our inadequacy. If you happen to be shopping for some fresh new alibis for being more, less like Jesus than more, more like Jesus you might try on one of these for size.
“How do I know they’re deserving of my help?”
Can you see Jesus saying this to the Father? “OK, I’ll go and I’ll sacrifice myself, but not for those who don’t deserve it! I only want to die for those who are eligible, who were total victims and didn’t get themselves in the trouble they’re in. I don’t want to waste my blood on the undeserving.” Continue reading →
In two earlier posts I introduced the concept and context of the parable of the Good Samaritan. I talked about to be like Jesus is to be like the kind of “Ideal Samaritan” he was. Let me take this a little further and identify, like the law expert with whom he shared his parable, we make excuses for our lack of Christlikeness…
Christianity is like playing “Follow the Leader.” Jesus told us to “follow” him, which is a truckload more than just believing in him. It’s been a while since I’ve played the actual game, but I remember that if you want to stay in the game you have to do what the leader does. And you have to do it just the way s/he does it. Saying, “Well, I’m not going to do that, but I really do believe in you!” won’t get you to the next round. Believers-only sit down and watch followers stay in and play. Continue reading →
They were talking about the greatest command of all when Jesus revealed to the loophole seeking Bible scholar how he rolled as a God-and-people-lover. I think, with the Samaritan story, Jesus was, in essence, saying, “Here’s how I love my Father and my neighbors. I go out of my way to serve them.”
Though I can’t claim with certainty that Jesus necessarily intended us to view him as “The Samaritan” in his story, you have to admit the parallels are striking. I don’t know about you, but when Jesus found me, I was robbed and beat down by the Sin, Satan, and the System. Religion did nothing for me but pass me by on the other side of the road. But, of all people, this unexceptional Man of love picked me up, tended my wounds, brought me to a therapeutic community for recovery, and paid the tab.