[Jesus said,] “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.” Luke 10:30-32 (NIV)
Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan is familiar as it opened my eyes and taught me who is my neighbor. I am so grateful God has not stopped teaching me. There is always something new to learn.
The priest, the Levite, both refused, for whatever reason, not to give aid to the man. Maybe they were afraid. Maybe they had an appointment they believed to be more important than spending time taking care of someone they did not know. Jesus makes it clear that the Samaritan who did stop and tend to the injured man was the one who fulfilled God’s call in this situation and so gained God’s blessing.
Have you ever done something which was not in your original plan for the day and found yourself meeting someone or doing something that was accompanied by knowing you had stepped right into the middle of God’s plan for you? You felt a sense of tremendous joy and knew your Father was very pleased with you!
Too often I am frustrated by events which circumvent my plan. I remember one afternoon I was attempting to deliver my two oldest children to gymnastics and baseball practice at the opposite end of the county and seemed to hit every red light in every intersection. I’m sure I was pounding on the steering wheel! My daughter suggested the red lights might be “Holy Spirit Red Lights” which were preventing us from an accident. Not what I wanted to hear at the time but it did check my frustration and give me a “reboot” of how I looked at the circumstances.
The slowest line in a checkout, construction on an interstate, a phone call from a friend or family member who needs transportation or just needs to talk may take an hour out of a day that I am sure I will never recover in my busy schedule. But many of these often irritating detours may contain hidden blessings and opportunities to serve God. And I didn’t even take ten seconds to ask God and listen to His reply.
We are Christ’s ambassadors… 2 Corinthians 5:30 (NIV)
We are God’s Plan A in communicating His salvation and His never-ending love to His children. Given my natural tendency to rush through this life with my usual self-centered thoughts, God is faith itself as He does not give up on teaching me. Today this parable of the Good Samaritan went a step further and reminded me that to rush by an opportunity to serve someone in need results in a missed blessing. The missed blessing might have been an encouragement I sorely needed or it could have been an intersection in my life which brought a crucial life change.
Tomorrow is another day and maybe another opportunity.
We Are One in the Spirit written by Father Peter Scholtes & sung by Jars of Clay