Luke 10:30-35 – Jesus took up the question and said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion.He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’ (HCSB)
Most everyone knows the story of the good Samaritan. Even the secular world refers to someone who does a good deed as a Good Samaritan. I read the scripture and label the priest and the Levite as self centered, uncaring, maybe even pompous and take great pride in not being like them. I identify myself with the Samaritan, a good person, sacrificing all to help someone in need. I imagine myself as the person at the store to capture the robber and hold him until the police arrive or the one who runs to the wrecked car and rescues the mother and baby seconds before the explosion. The reality is I live a life that would probably never test my heroic reactions. I probably won’t stumble across a half dead body as I stroll down a road known for its vicious bandit attacks either, but I have no doubt I would be more Samaritan than priest or Levite. I’m a good person and feel I sacrifice for other people all the time! Of course, some of my days are so planned I just don’t have the time to deal with someone else’s problems. I see that woman and know she needs a friend, but I don’t want people to include me in the “dirt” of gossip that surrounds her so I’ll just ignore her. I could allow the elderly couple to be seated in the restaurant ahead of me but I am really hungry plus I have errands to run and places to be. I could concede the parking spot and park further away, but my shoes are new, my feet are tired, and that driver probably doesn’t mind walking a few extra steps. The three men in the parable were offered the chance to show kindness, an opportunity given to everyone multiple times a day. The priest and the Levite were just too busy to deal with someone else’s problems. Maybe they didn’t want the possible consequences of helping the injured man. Maybe they were hungry and stopping would throw their whole day off schedule. Maybe they just wanted to reach their destination and rest. Maybe their excuses were a lot like mine! Our world constantly encourages random acts of kindness, but maybe our acts of kindness should stop being so random. There is nothing wrong with being busy, but if my busyness is keeping me too busy to show God’s love then it is only busyness and is worthless.
Lord, you know that my days are busy. I have errands to run, shopping to do, the needs of my family, the list goes on and on. Some days my busyness makes me blind to the needs of others. Help me to be like Peter and John who “saw” the lame man (Acts 3:4). Help me to not be so focused on my own needs that I miss the needs of others (Philippians 2:4). Let my busyness be productive (James 2:14-17). Let me live so that people see Your loving kindness and know it is never be random.