Luke 10: 25-37
Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”
He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”
He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbour as well as you do yourself.”
“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”
Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbour’?”
Jesus answered by telling a story. “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.
“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”
“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
I always read this piece of scripture and try and think what role I would play if I were in it. I like to think that I’m the Samaritan, but if I’m being honest, I’m probably the priest and Levite. A lot of the time, I’ll be walking down the high street, and there are homeless people that need money, or volunteers with donation buckets, and a lot of the time, I’ll just walk past them and ignore them.
However I sometimes like to think I can be a Samaritan. In 2012, I was fortunate to volunteer at the Summer Olympics in London. While I was volunteering there, I was lucky to meet some really fantastic volunteers. I remember finishing a night shift with another volunteer, and we were heading back to our campsite when we came across a group of tourists that didn’t know where they were or how to get back to their hotel. Rather than send them on a night bus that may have gotten them close to where they needed to be, we offered to go with them to make sure that they got back to their hotel safely. It turned out, that it wasn’t too far away from our campsite. But it was a struggle at 3am to find the energy to give them help. It was only a small act, but it was a time when I felt like I was doing what the Samaritan would have done.
Everyday we’re given opportunities to be a Samaritan to those around us. It could be phoning a friend or family member to catch up with them or it could be giving a pound or two to a donation bucket in the street. We have to accept these little challenges and prove ourselves to be that Samaritan, and then maybe one day we will experience eternal life.
We know that it not always easy to show real love.
Help us, through your Holy Spirit, to be willing to give help to others, even when it’s hard to do.