33 But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion.
34 He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’
36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
37 “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said.
Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”
This is an amazing story. The Samaritan doesn’t have some intellectual or moral argument for helping the guy or not helping the guy. The Samaritan has compassion. Compassion isn’t intellectual. Mercy doesn’t come from our intellect. These feelings come when we identify with the person who is suffering. Fear tells us to get away from the situation as quickly as we can. Self-righteousness tells us to walk away because the guy probably had it coming.
But here is where the change in our behavior and thinking has to happen because God’s people are to be merciful. God’s people are to be compassionate. Why? Because God has shown mercy to us. It is only by God’s grace we are not the one who is beaten, bloody, and half-dead. It is only by God’s grace that we didn’t leave a little earlier and were the one attacked. It only by God’s grace we aren’t in the situation the other guy is in. Self-righteousness causes us not to engage people who are hurting. Self-righteousness and fear causes us not to invest in people. We don’t give because we are afraid that if we give we won’t have.
We need to change to be like the Samaritan in the story. We need to identify people who need Jesus, pray for them, and invest in their lives. Look at the effort the Samaritan made. He bandaged his wounds and tended to them. He put him on his own animal and took him to an inn where he cared for him all night. Then, he paid the inn keeper and told the inn keeper to take care of the man and whatever extra was spend in caring for the injured man, the Samaritan would reimburse when he returned.
We need to be the Samaritan in the story. Too often we are the priest and the Levite. Too often, out of fear and self-righteousness, we fail to engage the very people who need us. Too often we fail to invest in the lives of people who need Jesus. Too often we are like the lawyer trying to justify ourselves for not being on mission for Jesus. Investing in people’s lives help them trust you. In most cases, people will have to trust you before they will trust in the God you serve. They must sense you care about them and that you are not just after another convert, like some sort of triangle scheme.
We are going to have to learn to go above and beyond. We are going to have to make the investments in people that no one else is making. Invest your time and money in the lives of people who need Jesus. Have them over for dinner. Take them to a ball game. Help them with a project around the house. Have lunch with them. Keep their kids so they can have a date night. Invest your life into their lives.
Here is what I know…because it happens in everyone’s life. A crisis is going to come. A 3 a.m. phone call is going to be made because something happened. If you have prayed for and invested in their lives, it will be you they are calling. Why? Because they trust you and know you really care for them. It takes time, effort, and yes, money, but it is the greatest thing you can spend those resources on.