We recently completed a sermon and group study series entitled “Get Off Your Donkey” centered around the story of the Good Samaritan. The story of the Good Samaritan is a story that is told in the Bible but has been told in many non-Christian circles as an example of what it looks like to help other people. Though I had personally heard or read the story hundreds of times in my lifetime, I was struck by things during this study that I had not contemplated previously. There are a lot of things I could share with you, but today I want to share three things that I have learned as I have revisited the story of the Good Samaritan.
It requires a move on our part
The Good Samaritan not only had to get off of his donkey, he had to get down in the ditch with the man that was injured. He had to get close enough to assess the situation and see how he could best help. The two other people in the story passed by on the other side of the road. The Good Samaritan could have tried to help without making a move himself. He could have thrown some food and supplies in the ditch and let the man try to solve the problem himself. Instead, he made the move to where the man was. It is very difficult to understand someone’s predicament when we only see it from our point of view. We have to go where they are so we can see the situation from their point of view. There have been times I have been guilty of throwing “supplies” at situations when I really didn’t understand the need. One of the things we are most guilty of is throwing money at a problem and expecting people to solve a crisis on their own. To genuinely help someone, we must move. Our ability to see clearly is enhanced when we see from their position instead of ours.
It requires a commitment of our own resources
The Good Samaritan committed his own resources from the very beginning. While dressing his wounds, he used things that he had brought along for his trip. They were obviously things he thought he needed to survive himself. He used oil and wine to cleanse and soothe the injured man’s wounds, then he bandaged them. If he was making a long journey, the oil and wine are expected. The bandages, most likely, came from his own clothing. It never says he was rich, or that these were things he did not need, or that he gave out of his abundance. These were obviously things that he expected to use for himself. Instead, he used them in the service to others. When we serve, it will require us to use our resources. Sometimes it will require us to use things that we thought we would need for ourselves. If we are truly committed to serving, we will not be stingy, but will be generous, even to the point of sacrificing.
We cannot do everything ourselves
One of the interesting things in the story is that the Good Samaritan enlists the help of someone else. He reached a point where he could no longer attend to the needs of this man who was injured. His prior commitments required him to do something else, so he enlisted the help of the innkeeper. The innkeeper had the ability to stay with the man until he was fully recovered. The Good Samaritan even offered to support the cause if the innkeeper would finish the work. Serving and making a difference is not a one man job. We accomplish so much more when we learn to enlist the help of others. There are people who have gifts and abilities that we do not have. We accomplish so much more when we allow others to serve in the capacity and gifting that God has given them. We cannot be jealous or selfish or shortsighted. This will keep people from receiving the help they truly need. Do not be afraid to ask others to help you. Serving others is one of the greatest rewards in life. Don’t keep it to yourself.
What are some things you have learned from the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10?