The Good Samaritan
The wrong question guarantees the wrong answer. Pharisees are great at this kind of thing. It’s why we find ourselves asking the wrong questions all of the time. Jesus simplifies our lives, goals, budgets, dreams, priorities and schedules, saying: eternal life is found in two places, loving God and loving your neighbor. A Pharisee can’t package this (Lk10.29-37). “And who is my neighbor?” he asks.
From my vantage point, when I look out, scanning the people in my life, how should I categorize them? Who is my neighbor? With strings attached we orient the answer around our own image, self. Who is like me? Who can help me? In or out. Cherished or ignored. Valued or overlooked. I will love you if…
Sifting people with this question strikes lines which turn into walls, dealing out love to some and callous apathy to others. This kind of question allows me to walk by a needy coworker, avoid a bothersome neighbor, overlook a request for help. It’s the wrong question. As Jesus told the Pharisee this story, it’s why the Priest walked by a beaten man, naked, unconscious, smeared with blood and bruises. The Levite did too. Keep your distance, was their mantra. The least of these lay ignored, left to die on a road, soaked in God’s image. Then came a Samaritan, whistling the tune of God’s heart. Seeing the unconscious man, he recognized him as God’s creation. Interrupted with compassion, the Samaritan moved in close, spending an unreasonable amount of time and money in the rescue.
“Who proved to be a neighbor?” Jesus asks. No longer is the question about them, it’s about you and me. Will I be a neighbor? Will compassion mark your life, as you rub shoulders with all people? The categories are gone, judgmentalism melts, and we find ourselves free to love. This kind of love, neighboring, can only happen when our eyes are opened to the God who mixed proximity and sacrifice to move compassionately towards the beaten and bloodied, unconscious, helpless, me. He has loved us in Christ, no strings attached.
God has given us quite a neighborhood. It may just be the biggest blessing of our move here. An unending amoeba of kids absorbed our four into play the first week we arrived. Courtney and I have freely found porches to sit on, drinks to drink, and fire pits to burn. God has been so good to us relationally. It’s like they have all been reading Luke 10. May the way you and I step into our relational spheres answer the question: “Will I be a neighbor here?”
For the full Lk10 sermon I preached on Sunday in our basement: LINK HERE
Please pray for: 1.Our family to get some rest. The kids have been sick and/or up most nights. It’s wearing on us. 2.Continued great relationships with our friends/neighbors. 3.Finding the right place to gather, as we will most likely outgrow our basement soon. 4.We are transitioning into the next phase of the plant, gathering on Sunday mornings for worship, launching two Communities, and gathering in groups of 3 for discipleship. Please pray for wisdom.