Focal Passage: Luke 10:25-37
Compassion should never be confused with irresponsible giving. Sometimes in our society it is difficult to know how to help those in need. Consequently, if we are not careful we can become indifferent trying to figure it out. For example, we see folks on the side of the road holding up signs asking for money. When our car gets close to them we pretend to be preoccupied or look the other way. Sometimes we get angry because we think they are playing on our emotions and trying to manipulate us to give. Or, perhaps you think they are just too lazy to get a real job. Regardless of how you feel I think this week’s lesson can give us some important insight in our decision-making next time we encounter a person in need.
Many of us know Luke 10:25-37 as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. There are at least three points about this parable that are applicable for us today. First, the Samaritan recognized there was a legitimate need (Luke 10:30, 33). Secondly, he had compassion on the person in need (Luke 10:33). Thirdly, he was responsible in giving to the person in need (Luke 10:33-55).
In the first point it was evident to the Samaritan that the man desperately needed help. Sometimes for us it is not so evident if someone genuinely needs help. Therefore, the Christian has to go beyond simple observation and investigate the need more thoroughly.
Secondly, the Samaritan had compassion on the man. Compassion is rooted in God and our love for God (Luke 10:27). Compassion for the Christian always moves the person in need closer to Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, the Samaritan gave responsibly as he helped the man. In essence, he had the man’s well-being in mind. Helping someone requires great wisdom. Just giving someone money may enable that person to live a life of destruction. The Christian has to go further and help the person make the right decision that leads to a closer relationship with Jesus.
None of these suggestions are easy to fulfill, but with Christ, all thing are possible.