“Who is my neighbor?”
July 10th 2016
Introduction: Finish children’s story info from back of “The Seagoing Cowboy” by Peggy Reiff Miller.
I.) What strikes me in a fresh new way from this familiar story is not that the Samaritan helped a Jew, but rather the extent to which the Samaritan helped him.
A.) Our Samaritan was not only willing to go over and take a look, to see what had really happened, but he also got engaged in the situation.
1. He goes beyond that as well.
2. He takes charge of the man and see to it that he gets to an inn and that the innkeeper gives the needed care for the man in his absence.
Ex. “Take care of him; when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend’”
3. He has already given the innkeeper two denarii for his help.
4. As many of us would have done, the Samaritan could have ended his involvement at this point and gone on his way, satisfied that he had helped the man.
5. Instead he commits to returning after he fulfills another commitment.
B.) We don’t know anything about the Samaritan’s background.
1. Somewhere in his life he learned that all people, even ones we might consider our enemies, deserve faithful loving kindness.
2. I would speculate that at some point he must have needed help and someone stepped up and gave it to him.
3. We cannot loose sight of the difficult relationship between Jews and Samaritans but deeper than that is the need of one person being met by another person.
4. Simple basic respect!
II.) The lawyers question
A.) The lawyer whose question prompted Jesus to tell this story could not have missed this.
1. The issue for the lawyer was not to understand the limit of his responsibility but rather the extent of his opportunity!
2. How many times are we presented with opportunities to share God’s love and compassion and we turn away or look away so don’t have to get involved?
3. I dare say that all of us have had some opportunity within say the past week to respond to a need and have looked away.
Ill. Am I wrong? I saw a number of people with automotive troubles in my recent travels and decided not to get involved because I was in a hurry to get some place or I reasoned that they had a cell phone or that someone would be along to help them. Then I came to this passage to preach from this morning and felt convicted of my actions.
4. The limit of our responsibility vs. the extent of our opportunity, this is where the tension lies for me in this passage!
B.) Where do our gifts, vocation, and avocation create opportunities to bless the lives of others with the steadfast loving kindness of the gospel of the king of God?
1. Where does our church’s time, talent, and treasure offer corporate opportunity for the same?
Ill. Let’s list a few this morning. Go ahead and call some out that you are aware of. Disaster relief response, Our Daily Bread soup kitchen, Children’s Aid Society. Etc.
2. Are there opportunities we are missing?
3. Are there places we could be sharing our gifts to meet the needs of the hurting?
4. Answer these questions in your own life and in the life of the church and we will validate God’s steadfast love to us by extending it to others in ways we have never thought of.
Conclusion to message: The Seagoing Cowboys were going to deliver help to people, some of whom were former enemies, in Europe and Asia. Grand father and Vivian’s step father were among those Brethren who responded to the call. Many at home didn’t understand why they went.
We have issues in our world today that are not unlike those issues in Jesus’ day or following wars of the past century. Social issues on in-equality for all people. I come to the question I asked in my Thoughts on the Word for this week – Where will I draw the line and where would God draw the line? I God to draw the line!
What we are all really concerned with is the question the lawyer brought to Jesus to begin with, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Love God with your total being and love your neighbor as yourself! The lawyer got it right but was he willing to live this out? Are we? We may not always agree on everything but we are called to love even our enemies. Amen.