The serious problem of the “good” Samaritan

 

The parable of the Samaritan in Luke 10 isn’t about figuring out who is “qualified” to help. It is about a radical love for God and others that is so deep, the first inclination is to help.

It’s risky. It’s dangerous. It puts us in hard situations.

And through all of it we find the presence and love of God.

That “go and do likewise” part is harder than we can imagine.

Principles for “loving the neighbor”

The second part of basic discipleship I will be dealing with at my church today is loving the neighbor. I am preaching a series through Luke 10-11 on four basic principles of discipleship. This week is about the parable of the Good Samaritan.

There are three basic principles (and I think they are adapted in some way from something I heard Tim Keller say awhile back) help guide my life as to what it means to “love.”

1. Loving you means I bring you no harm. I am not out to “get” you, trick you, manipulate you. I don’t want anything but God’s best in your life and that means I don’t bring you harm, no matter how deep the disagreement may seem in the beginning.

2. Loving you means as much as in my power I don’t allow other to bring you harm. If I need to stand to physically protect you in some way, I will. If I need to stand up to make sure someone doesn’t bring verbal harm, I will. If I can keep others from bringing harm, I will be there.

3. Loving you means I desire to bring God’s best into your life. My life in Christ is so radically different than before, and I follow such a powerful King who is abundant, I want to bring the abundance of the Kingdom with me. I will speak the truth in love, only desiring what is Kingdom best for you. It is not up to me to manipulate you or fear your rejection. In fact, you can reject the offerings of blessing I may bring. But it doesn’t change my sincere love for you. I will still be there. You’re not a project to me. You’re a person. I’ll keep on living as well out of Kingdom goodness as I can, and it will be up to you to tell me to take a hike. Until then, I’m there.

We are called to a radical love in this world. Our King has given us abundant power to live in this freedom. It is without fear. It is without manipulation. This is one of the lessons of loving the neighbor out of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

The Calling of God and the Call of Distractions

Luke 10 tells three distinct stories, all of which combine for great reminders of ministry. Years ago I remember a minister talking about how he wanted to live in the spirit of Luke 10.
The first story is the sending out of the 72. It’s about the call. Ministers called of God can relate. There is the excitement of getting out and doing what God has called you to do.
I need that reminder. The call of Jesus to his disciples is to proclaim what you have learned and demonstrate it. They were to go out proclaiming the Kingdom (what Jesus had taught) and then demonstrate the power of the Kingdom (which Jesus had been doing all along). In other words, it was time for the baby eagles to get out of the nest and learn to flap their wings.
It had to have been a joyous time to have the 72 coming back and reporting!
“WOW! All you said and did, we said and did! Even demons were subject to us!”
It’s at this point Jesus reminds them to stay grounded. “”Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Keep perspective.
The second story incorporates the parable of the Good Samaritan. The first story is a reminder of the call of God. The second story is about staying focused. The priest and the Levite in the story should have helped the wounded man. What kept them from helping was the distractions of their day. They had their “duties.” If they stopped to help, they would be delayed from their duties.
They may have also been distracted by the prevailing thoughts of their day. Why stop to help? That may be a trap! Why stop to help? He probably got what he deserved!
Distractions can keep us from the call of God. We may think we’re living out the call, but we’ve forgotten the true call of God. The Samaritan remembered the true part. He exemplified the call of the Kingdom.
So much can call out to distract! It can be “good things.” It can just be menial things. We allow our time to get eaten up by mundane tasks. We miss those opportunities to live out the power of Kingdom.
Remember the “good part.” Remember to proclaim what you have learned. Remember to demonstrate the goodness of the Kingdom as well. And work to keep distractions to a minimum.