Your Choice as a Samaritan: Stop or Walk on?
When was the last time you went out of your way to help someone? What do you do when you see a need — walk on or stop and help?
A Difficult Situation
The other day we had a tree fall across our driveway rather unsuspectingly. We knew it was dying but had only discovered it a few days before and had no idea what a windy day would do to it. Had it fallen any sooner it would have crushed a few cars but God was very gracious to us and allowed it to fall at the right time. Since it was blocking a vehicle from getting out, and a few from coming in, we set to work immediately cutting it up. Over 5 or more hours, my brother, two sisters, and mother and I worked at removing the tree piece by piece. During that time, a number of cars passed by. Neighbors, old and new, didn’t once stop to see if we needed help. I was both disappointed and not surprised. Was there ever a better example of the state our world is in? When neighbors, not even strangers, wouldn’t turn their heads to see what was the matter.
It is definitely easier to make excuses and move on — we’ve all done it. But what would it look like if we made up our minds to lend a helping hand?
What It Looks Like
I’m sure you are familiar with the story of the good Samaritan so I’ll just brush you up on it. A traveling Jew is waylaid and left for dead and over the course of time, there are three people who pass by him — a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. The first two hastily move on while the third stops to help, even though the relational status between the two people groups are strained, to say the least.
The Samaritan had better reasons than the priest and Levite for leaving the man to take care of himself. Who ever heard of a Jew helping a Samaritan? However, scripture says, “And when he saw him, he had compassion on him” (v. 33). If you read the preceding verses you will see that Jesus is using this story as an example of the way to live a godly life.
4 Steps to take
1. Open your eyes and look around
It is a conscious decision we have to make to choose to see those in need around us. It means seeing the family outside the store holding the sign that reads, “Need money for food.” The home-bound person across the street, the stranger on the sidewalk, or the neighbor whose tree fell across their driveway.
2. Take action
Like the Samaritan, the next step is to do what you can. He bandaged the man with what he had with him before doing anything else. He didn’t make excuses or quiz the man to see if he was really worthy of this kindness.
Sometimes we have the tendency to see someone in need and assure them that we are eager to help, but neglect to follow it through. Dr. Stanley says, “It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to do it.”
And who knows, sometimes lending a helping hand can be as simple as a cheerful smile or an encouraging word.
3. Go all the way
Don’t hold anything back, or as they say, don’t spare the horses. The Samaritan placed the injured Jew on his donkey and took him to an inn where he paid for the cost of whatever it might take for his full recovery. I often wonder what the Jew took away from this? There is no doubt in my mind that from then on he became another “good Samaritan.” Even if he was a Jew.
What might it look like for us in this modern age? Maybe you’ve called a lonely person, or promised to pray for someone, continue to do so. If you’ve seen the need, and made the decision to act, be diligent to follow it up. Continue to check in with that person, see what you can do and how you can pray further.
4. Forget yourself
There is nothing more important in this world than showing Jesus to someone. Putting others above yourself is the best testimony a person can give of the truth of the gospel. Jesus said, “Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34 NKJV)
Giving of ourselves is never a one time event – it’s a way of life. It’s what Jesus did and what we have been called to do as His followers. Verse 37 of Luke 10 records Jesus response to the lawyer asking him questions, “Go and do likewise.”
And when you have, prepare to be blessed.
We each are given the same choice the Samaritan had to make, which one will we choose?
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