The Nourishing Place
The Educational Support Organization, Inc.
We are a 501-c-3, Not-for-Profit Charitable Organization
Tax ID # 72-1246735
Sermon, July 14, 2019
Today’s reading is the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is a story Jesus told as an answer to a man who asked, “Who is our neighbor?” We all know this story and we know what it is teaching us. But let’s recap: A Jewish man was walking along the Jericho road to Jerusalem. Robbers attacked him, beat and robbed him, and left him on the side of the road.
Soon after, two holy Jewish men walked right passed the badly wounded Jewish man and did nothing to help him: one was a priest and the other was a Levite, that is someone who was in charge of the Temple. You would think that of all the people who took that road those would be the two who would stop and give aid. They did not. I’m sure they had their excuses for not doing so.
Then a man hated by all Jewish people, a Samaritan, came along. The reason the Jews hated the Samaritans is they intermarried with heathens, broke most of the Jewish laws, and even defiled the Jewish temple by placing pig blood and bones in it. So this hated man, who also hated all Jews, did stop by to give aid. He cleansed his wounds with wine and oil, lifted him up on the Samaritans own animal, and took him to an inn to be cared for. There he gave the inn keeper money to care for the wounded one and said he would return the same way and if more money was needed he would pay it.
So obviously, according to Jesus, our neighbor is anyone anywhere who is in need, whether we love, hate, or fear that person. According to the teachings of Jesus when it comes to being compassionate towards your neighbor there are no conditions applied! No conditions...such as I’m too busy to help, I don’t have time, I don’t know this person anyway, I can’t afford the money to help, that person is different from me and my friends, this person may not be a Christian….on and on and on...Our excuses are endless. Again, according the Jesus, we, his followers, must serve those in need without considering the parameters that divide and separate us. That may be heavy for us to even consider...but otherwise, what good do we do if we only serve those we think deserve to be served. According to scripture that attitude is arrogance and is spiritually harmful to us who live by Christian ethics.
To help a neighbor means a great deal more than giving a dollar or two to someone who asks...rather it is to recognize compassion is the ligament that unites all humankind. As Christians, our ultimate purpose is to love and serve humanity irrespective of where those in need come from, who they are, or what they have done. To be a good Samaritan, like Jesus asks us to be, we must serve all with complete willingness...often times without regard to the cost. We either live in faith and become an integral part of the Kingdom of God here on earth, or we fail in our mission that brought us to earth in the first place. All of you here are good, kind, loving people. No doubt about that. But if you were to truly and honestly evaluate yourself and your attitude toward the needy, I hope you will ask yourself these two questions:
Where do you stand on the continuum of true, wholehearted compassion?
Is there room for improvement in your attitude and actions?