Day 3: The Good Samaritan should be every Christian!

Have you ever heard the story of the Good Samaritan?  I’m sure you probably have.  But is it just a story to you, or has the power of what Christ is saying through it changed your life?

You

$50 will provide fishing nets and other gear, and $500 will provide a boat.  We share the love of Christ through what we say and what we do, just like Christ Himself did.  Jesus didn’t just say He loved it, He proved His love for us by everything He did in His life, and ultimately in His death on the cross, and resurrection & return to “cut the ribbon” for the opening of His spiritual Kingdom.  When we follow Jesus, we need to tell people about Him and we need to share His love with them.

Pastor Douglas Wilson really got me thinking about the following, as he narrates the story in Collision[1].  The atmosphere in which Jesus told this story: Jews and Samaritans have been compared to whites and ‘bi-racials'[2] in the South.  Samaritans were seen as “half-breeds” because of their mixed ethnicity heritage.  As Douglas Wilson points out, when Jesus told this story, it would have been every bit as stunning as if Jesus was telling a crowd of whites in Alabama about a white man who got hurt and the KKK pass him by, but a ‘bi-racial’ man helps him.  That’s how offensive this story would have been.

In a re-enactment of the Good Samaritan I saw recently[3], the Jewish people are all smirking as a Samaritan man passes by, struggling with his donkey and a heavy load.  One of the smirking, religious (and in this portrayal, wealthy) Jewish leaders saunters up to Jesus and asks half jokingly what he needs to do to go to Heaven.  Jesus answers him in a way that would have been expected–and ending that the man should love his neighbor.

The man comes back with a sly, off-the-cuff question about who his neighbor really is.

Jesus proceeds to tell a story.  In this re-enactment, the wealthy man who is flippantly asking these questions pictures himself as the man who is robbed and left half-dead by the side of the road.  As the story is told, the kinds of people the man would expect to help him . . don’t.  At the end, the enemy he holds in such contempt, the scorned Samaritan, comes along and makes great sacrifices to save him.  He leaves his load of possessions in the desert so he can put the man on his donkey.  He pays for all the man’s care.

As Jesus closes the story, He asks a question,

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The religious man is shown again in this portrayal, but this time he is a different man.  No longer feeling coy, an expression of shock and humility is on his face as he says his last statement.

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

And then Jesus ends with the statement that stays with us even if we try to drive it away,

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37, NIV)

We don’t know whether the man who asked Jesus the question changed his heart and followed Jesus . . but by his last response to Jesus, we can have hope that he did.  For us, though, a question remains.  Do we understand who our neighbor is?

A gift of $20 can buy a pair of rabbits or help pay for a pig or other small livestock.  We joke about rabbits multiplying, but now I know why God gave them that ability!  They can provide nutrition and income for people in impoverished countries, and they are inexpensive to feed.  Yay for rabbits!

Do we get that every time we give help to someone, our positions could have been very easily reversed?  Do I realize that I could have been the woman in India whose face has been burned away because my family didn’t pay a high enough bride price[4]?  Do I realize that I could have been the child coming from the Muslim home who will only hear about Jesus if a church center is open[5]?  Do I realize that I could be the ninety-something-year-old in the nursing home who can’t remember her name, but knows that no one ever comes to visit her[6]?  Do I realize that I could have been the child abandoned on the street in China because I’m a disappointment as a girl[7]?  Do I realize that I could have been the teenager standing outside the Planned Parenthood, wondering whether to go in or stay out[8]?

Today’s mission-in-focus is Samaritan’s Purse, named in honor of the good Samaritan of Jesus’ parable.  (And really, as the portrayal I watched showed by having the same actor play both Jesus and the good Samaritan, the Outcast who rescues us is the story of Jesus and His compassion for us, who hated Him.)   Samaritan’s Purse is such a huge ministry I’ll only touch on the work they do as good Samaritans for Christ Jesus.

A video about aqua and more than aqua 🙂

Samaritan’s Purse

A video about chickies and more than chickies 🙂

Bibles and Christian Literature

From Samaritan’s Purse: A $15 gift can provide five (5!) New Testaments, three (3!) Bibles, or other Gospel materials for those we help in impoverished communities, refugee camps, disaster sites, and hospitals. (Wow!)

Credibility of the Mission: This is a well-known, worldwide ministry headed by Franklin Graham.  Financial accountability information can be found freely on their website here.  They are also EFCA accredited and the information can be found here.  Donations are tax deductible as a qualified 501 (C) (3).

A video about fishies and more than fishies 🙂

As believers we are doing unto Christ when we help others.

 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

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 10:25-37, NIV)

_________________________________________________________________

[1] Collision DVD, 2009, with Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson

[2] “The Good Samaritan” from Great Bible Stories, Volume One.  Bridgestone Multimedia Group, 2011.

[3] The term ‘bi-racial’ in this blog is used to convey a concept that people used to have, and some still have.  But I do not believe anyone is ‘bi-racial’.  We are all one race, Adam’s!  I could have said ‘mixed ethnicities’ or ‘multi-ethnic’.  First, that is not how the majority of whites in the South thought, and the point was that Jesus was offending the daylights out of the prejudiced people of His own ethnic group of that day!  Second, it’s pretty ridiculous to say ‘mixed ethnicities’ or ‘multi-ethnic’.  I’m multi-ethnic; you’re multi-ethnic; we’re nearly all multi-ethnic here in America.  Really, speaking of people as “black” and “white” is not only ridiculous because no one is either a) black or b) white, but also because it is as arbitrary as saying “brown-eyeds” and “blue-eyeds” and “green-eyeds”.  For more information, see Answers in Genesis’ DVD, Only One Race.

[4] This example came from Agni Raksha, India.  A ministry of Wellspings International (headed by Ravi Zacharias daughter, Naomi Zacharias) helps provide these women with surgeries they need to repair their faces.  25,000 women are burned each year in India from a cruel, outlawed custom of burning a bride if her family cannot pay the price set by the groom.

[5] This example came from experiences I have had through Compassion International.  I have a child raised in a Muslim home in Bangladesh.  Compassion centers provide children with a safe place for extracurricular activities & receive a healthy snack, caring adult mentors to help safeguard them from and watch out for signs of abuse and neglect, and a place to learn about Jesus Christ.

[6]  You can make a difference in the life of a senior adult.  It doesn’t matter whether they recognize you or not.  It matters that you are there.  Visit a friend or family member, or volunteer a few hours a month at a nursing home or assisted living center in your community.

[7]  China’s current policy, and the traditional values of preference for boys over girls, places infant girls at risk to be aborted or, if they are birthed, abandoned.  I have friends who have adopted girls from China because God has laid it on their hearts.  It’s not an easy process . . or an inexpensive process . . but the blessing is unimaginably worth it if God has placed this on your heart.

[8]  Pregnancy Care Centers try to stand in the gap for women who would never go to a church for help with their unplanned pregnancy.  PCC’s offer accurate information on choices, allowing women to make a more informed decision.  There is a misconception that PCC’s coerce or manipulate women into having their babies, but don’t care anything about the women.  As a mentor at a PCC center, I can tell you this is slanderous and false.  First, PCC’s offer choices, not forces.  At my PCC, for example, a girl who received help from our center and chose to have an abortion said that she would refer her friends to our center, because she was treated so well.  Second, PCC’s, if they have adequate funding, offer services to women throughout their pregnancy like mentoring, classes, referrals for community resources, and needed items like diapers, baby wipes, baby clothes, etc.

See Copyright Page for Bible Translation information.

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