Do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
In the parable of the good Samaritan, the contrast between the Samaritan and the two religious leaders is striking. The religious leaders who ignored the man in need represented the lawyer, who was trying to restrict God’s law. But the Samaritan did not allow legalism to limit his love. That is, he did not twist God’s law as an excuse for not ministering to this person who was different than he was. It is very easy to come up with self-righteous reasons not to minister to people. But we should never allow some artificial standard to limit our love for people.
The Samaritan also did not allow race or religion to limit his concern. The Samaritan could have said, “I would like to help you, but we have a different ethnicity.” Or, “Maybe somebody from your own denomination ought to help you.” Instead, the Samaritan refused to allow race or religion to limit his concern, and the same should be true for us. In heaven, everybody is not going to be the same skin color or from the same economic background, but what we will have in common is our love for Jesus Christ. That is what the church ought to be too. We should never allow race or religion to limit the people that we reach.
Finally, the Samaritan refused to allow inconvenience to limit his sacrifice. Luke 10:33 says this Samaritan was on a journey. But he was willing to sacrifice his schedule to meet the real need of somebody around him. Some years ago, I was getting ready to preach a sermon on the good Samaritan. When I went into my office that week, I found a pile of correspondence to return. In the stack, there was a long, involved email from a woman in Illinois about a personal problem she needed help with. I am ashamed to tell you that my first response was, “I do not have time for this! Here is a woman living in another state, while I have thousands of my own members who need caring for. If I start answering detailed emails like this, there will be no end to it.” And then it hit me: “Robert, you are getting ready to preach on the good Samaritan this Sunday. Here is a woman who has a need that you have the capability of meeting. What is on your calendar that is so important you cannot stop and answer this woman’s question?”
When you look at the life of Jesus, some of His most important miracles were interruptions in His schedule. He was on His way to a girl who was dying when He healed the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8). He was in the middle of a sermon when a paralyzed man was lowered down through the ceiling. Jesus stopped, healed him, and gave one of His greatest messages on forgiveness (Mark 2). We should never allow personal inconvenience to limit our sacrifice.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Stranger In Need Meets A Neighbor In Deed” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org