By Author: Stacy May
These days, the good Samaritan is a phrase used regularly by the media to describe acts of kindness that go above and beyond in caring for others. We use the phrase most often for courageous acts, but we even see it referenced for anything from shopping to football.
There are many organizations and even medical facilities named after the good Samaritan.
How is it that the good Samaritan has become elevated to such a high status?
Maybe it’s because the parable in Luke 10:30-35 models such a practical—yet powerful—illustration of compassion and generosity:
Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
The NIV Bible presents verse 34 this way: “He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.”
Did you catch the four simple, life-changing words that take someone from being an observer to a participant?
He went to him.
The Samaritan didn’t pass by the man who had been attacked and go tell the local police. He didn’t tell friends and neighbors about what a sad sight he saw. He didn’t wait for someone else—possibly someone more skilled or qualified in caring for the half-dead—to take action. He didn’t organize a fundraiser to provide for his care.
He went to him.
He was generous with his time, his money and his compassion.
The Samaritan bandaged his wounds, put him on his own transportation and brought him to an inn. He paid for his care.
This is a beautiful example of generosity being lived out in the way God designed for it to be.
This passage leads me to ask questions like:
Am I aware of those in need?
When I see someone hurting, does my heart go out to them?
How do I respond when someone is in need?
Through this passage we learn that our neighbor can be anyone. We learn what it means to show compassion to all who are in need. And we learn that generosity can be done anytime, anywhere, for anyone.
That said, I’ll end this post the same way that Jesus ends his parable: “Go and do likewise.”