LUKE 10:30-37 – Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
THEME OF THE DAY. SERVICE OR SERVANT? Today’s scripture is the familiar Parable of the Good Samaritan. The lessons within are many but we want to focus on two. Though we know the parable well, think with me about the Samaritan. Here is a man on a journey. He was going somewhere on some type of business. I know that is implied, but it is safe. He wasn’t just out for a stroll on a well-known highway. There was an agenda. There was a place to go and people to meet. But then, he saw someone. Off to the side of the road was a badly beaten man. Near death. He wasn’t getting up, dusting himself off, and restarting his trip. He was hurting beyond the ability within himself to help himself. And we are surrounded in our world with such “beaten” people. Maybe not physically, but certainly emotionally and spiritually. They are in our homes, neighborhoods, communities, and even in our churches. Well, we know what the Samaritan did. He stopped. He took out the first aid kit strapped on his donkey (maybe not) bound up the man’s wounds, put him on his “ambulance” (donkey), took him to a hotel, got him a room, took care of him, and said, “Don’t worry about the bill. It is on me.” Wow. What an example that is both convicting and instructional. And here are a couple of real life lessons for us if we want to serve the hurting and beaten world around us to point them to Jesus through us.
First, being a servant, not just giving service that is acceptable before the Lord, must be costly, inconvenient, sacrificial with no thought of personal gain, and moved by His love controlling us. Friends, there is a difference between being a servant of the Lord and giving service for the Lord. The latter can fit nicely in our already planned out days and weeks. Serve in a youth ministry? Sure. I got two hours on a Thursday night to spare. Volunteer for the nursery? No problem. I can do an hour a month on the third Sunday. Being a servant of the Lord is different. It means, “Lord, all my time is yours. All my money is yours. All my talents are Yours.” And a servant doesn’t look at a weekly planner to see what is open for the Lord. A servant lays an open planner before the Lord before the week is planned and lets Him have first “dibs” on filling it in.
The second lesson is simple but not easy and requires a sensitivity to the Lord. Here it is . . . always be ready to jump at the moment to serve someone in need. Remember, the Samaritan had things to do and places to go, but what matters most in life is what mattered most in his life – a person and particularly hurting persons. And God will test us to see if the “to do list” and personal schedule is more important than responding to the one thing that will last forever – people.
So, spend time in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. As we do, let’s ask the Lord if we are His servants (right view of the Christian life) or just giving Him isolated service (wrong view of the Christian life).
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see the service for You that is acceptable is also the service that is costly.”
QUOTE: “Our salvation was costly and far from convenient. Do we think our service for Jesus will be less?”