In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”Luke 10:30-37 NIV
The story of the Good Samaritan is one that many people have heard of. It’s a reminder that the titles and labels that people hold don’t necessarily predict their actions. In this case, we see a Priest and Levite passing by a man in visible distress. At that time, Priests were responsible for interpretation of the law while the Levites were tasked with maintaining the temple. They were both roles well versed in what the Law of God said. Yet, they go out of their way to avoid helping the injured man. One would think that they’d be more generous to their fellow man. But the Samaritan, the one who was looked down upon because of his mixed heritage, had pity on the hurt man. He went out of his way to treat his injuries and ensure that he was in a safe place and cared for. He was willing to be inconvenienced to be a helper to his neighbor.
When was the last time you were inconvenienced for someone in need?
We’re called to love our neighbors. And we should be willing to help, especially when God instructs us to. Yet we continue to cross to the other side of the road and walk on by so we’re not inconvenienced.
And to take it a step further, how often do we see people struggling with where they are in life? Emotionally? Mentally? When we see someone in distress, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually, we have an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We have an opportunity to triage their wounds and get them to a safe place where they can be cared for. Sometimes that’s into a body/community of believers and other times it’s referring them to a therapist or physician. We don’t have to have all the answers but we can point them in the right direction. We can choose compassion for our neighbor over convenience.