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.
— Luke 10:30–32 MSG
I sometimes wonder how that man must have felt, looking up from that dusty road where he lay badly beaten and dying. A priest and a Levite walk by, both men God’s representatives to the people. Turning their heads, they look the other way, perhaps pretending not to notice. I wonder, did the man cry out? Could he? What was the weather like? Hot and arid? Humid? Cold and damp? Raining possibly? Regardless, could there be any more insult added to injury than to watching someone who claimed to be a child of God knowingly and deliberately ignoring your suffering? Whatever church it is they came from, I think I would pass on it.
Like the good Samaritan, the Church stands out different from the world, willing to take risks (robbers could have been nearby, lying in wait), actively going against the grain, swimming upstream, prepared to give all and suffer if she must that the hurting, lost and dying know the restorative love of Jesus. This is the Church, the Inn within which the beaten, battered and bruised find shelter and healing.
Need we be reminded that, as followers of Jesus, we are the church. As 1 Peter 2:5 tells us, just as each stone is part of a building, each believer is part of the Church. Pastor Jeff Vanderstelt writes, “The church is the regenerate people of God saved by the power of God for the purposes of God in this world.”
Lord, help me to be a Good Samaritan, a conduit through which the riches of your reckless love is channeled.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
— Colossians 3:12–14 MSG