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Faith in Action: Be the Church
Love Takes a Detour, part 5
When it comes to helping those in need and loving our neighbors, the greatest ability is availability! If you are going to love your neighbor, don’t use time as an excuse to hold back.
A Detour That Took Money
Luke 10:35 “The next day he took out two silver coins 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.’”
If you read between the lines, it seems that the Samaritan was a merchant who regularly traveled this road and had stayed at this inn before. He gives the innkeeper money to take care of the man, who stays there awhile. Then he promises the innkeeper, who apparently knows he can trust the Samaritan, that he will reimburse him for any additional costs when he returns from his trip. The Samaritan didn’t use money as an excuse not to act.
John Michael Jasset, a teenager, staggered into a fast food restaurant after being hit by a car. He was thrown from his bike and also scraped his knee, arms and hands. But when he asked for some ice to put on his wounds, he was told he had to pay for it. The charge: 99 cents, plus five cents for tax, the price of a small soda. John Michael said he would never go to that restaurant again.
Sometimes we justify not helping those in need because it is going to hit our pocketbook. The Samaritan did not use this as an excuse. He made financial sacrifices to help the man in need. The two silver coins represented two days’ wages. Even more, the Samaritan said that he would take care of any extra expenses as well once he returned from his trip (and you know how expensive those little mini-bar items can be for a Coke!)
Margaret Thatcher once said, “No one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well.” Many times it may take money to help your neighbor in need. If you are going to love your neighbor, don’t use money as an excuse to hold back.
Let me just say here that, by and large, this body gets this; I could take the rest of this day sharing with you accounts of people from this church family who gave financially or of their time and energy to help someone. As I reflected on this, I seriously considered not sharing this message - but still felt prompted that we need to be reminded of these principals from time to time to keep us motivated and headed in the right direction.
Now, let’s look at the passage as a whole again. Did Jesus answer the question “Who is my neighbor?” Yes, absolutely, he did. Your neighbor isn’t necessarily someone who lives next door to you. Your neighbor is anyone in need, anyone you can help. But notice that Jesus did more than answer that question. He asked the expert in the Old Testament a question, Verses 36-37– “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
In other words, Jesus changed the focus of the question from “Who is my neighbor?” to “What kind of neighbor are you?” Let me ask you, would you want yourself as a neighbor? Would you want yourself to show up on the scene? Would you stay on your normal route or would you take a divine detour because Jesus says that loving God and others is the path to eternal life?
The Good Samaritan disadvantaged himself to advantage someone else. As Christ followers, we have the privilege, yes, I said privilege, to disadvantage ourselves to advantage others. Our spiritual journey calls us beyond managing our to-do lists and into a faith in action lifestyle that welcomes divine detours — opportunities to demonstrate God’s love to people in need.
This week, this month, as we move through this series of messages, let me challenge you to get off your normal, beaten path, of life. It doesn’t have to even be anything big. Visit someone in the hospital. Take a plate of spaghetti to a widow or widower in your neighborhood. Volunteer to baby-sit for a single mom or single dad. Write a letter to a soldier serving oversees or to a Teen Challenge student. Commit to giving monthly to the feeding program in Panama. Decide to take a divine detour. Take action. Offer to help your neighbor repair their house from the flood damage. Love your neighbor. END
Medication: A Merry Heart
A woman was bragging about her son, a college student: “He’s so brilliant! Every time we get a letter from him we have to go to the dictionary.”
"You're lucky," her friend said. “Every time we get a letter from ours, we have to go to the bank.”
God Bless, Have a Great Weekend!
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: Romans 5:8 NLT
Today’s readings: Leviticus 11 – 13
Saturday: Leviticus 14 – 15
Sunday: Leviticus 16 – 18