2005-01-06 - Samaritan by Example
Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, (KJV)
Jesus led by example. If He was not leading the disciples by His deeds and actions, He was teaching them by His words with examples they could easily grasp firmly. This made things Jesus taught easy to remember. One man said to me that it was like putting handles on the thoughts so they could be easily carried along the way. I have also been told that the things we remember most engage our emotions and sense in at least three points. The twelve men who followed Jesus, the man questioning Jesus about who was considered a neighbor, or the crowd that Jesus was speaking to had any difficulty gasping one central point that may have been more than a little uncomfortable - engaging their emotions, along with their eyes and ears.
The Jews and the Samaritans were very bitter toward each other. To say that there was no love lost between them would be an understatement. And yet, the hero of this story was not the Jewish Priest or the Levite. Their actions were actually put into question by Jesus. The hero of Jesus' story was a Samaritan. The Samaritan was a neighbor to the man who was robbed by being his neighbor by his actions. It was not who was my neighbor. It was who am I a neighbor to around me.
I have one more thought about the victims of the tsunami around the Indian Ocean. While we have sent an air craft carrier battle group, doctors, rescue teams, medicine, medical units, and aid of all forms, we are outsiders. We often do not speak the local language if it is not english. We believe very differently, in some ways at very fundamental levels. We are seen as the rich man on top of the hill living a life of ease. Stories about the ugly Americans circulate with varying degrees of truth about them. Some of these stories are biased, and some have enough of a sting of truth that we should listen. To some of these people, as odd as it may seem from where we sit, we are the hated or distrusted Samaritans.
I'm very proud to be an American when I see the effort being put out by many unselfish men and women working to save lives, reunite families and prevent disease from making this disaster even more devastating than it has already become. I saw a picture of a soldier carrying a small child to a doctor because his mother walking beside the soldier was too weak to carry the child further. The soldier was a U.S. Marine according to the reporter. The soldier had become the good samaritan. And that samaritan was supported by other unseen samaritans who were members of his unit, the task force the brought him to the area, the men and women who got the ships and supplies prepared and loaded, the taxpayers and those who made donations to send the medicines, water purification systems and soldiers to help people in desperate need who they will likely never meet in this lifetime.
It's easy to see the bad with such devastating death and destruction poured out in this event. Maybe bad news is more sensational and sells more advertisements. I challenge you to look past the network news stories when they present the gloom and despair, and look for the samaritans.
Lord Jesus - Thank You for the example of the Samaritan, who has become a goal for us to live up to in Your name as we walk along the road of this life. Amen.
Grace & Peace,