“But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.”Luke 10:33-34
The Bible story of the Good Samaritan has always been one of my favorites. The contrast of men who were more concerned with who they were, where they were going, and others’ ethnicities, juxtaposed against a man who put a hurting person above his own personal needs inspired me as a young boy growing up in Thailand and Sri Lanka. To be honest, it was easy to become jaded with all I observed, like a mother who would pinch her child to make them cry to illicit sympathy from a foreigner and get more money.
My first memory of a “Good Samaritan” was when I was five or six-years-old. My grandmother, or Nanny as we called her, was a seminary professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and didn’t make a lot of money. My grandparents lived in seminary housing, where washers and dryers were not provided. So Nanny had been scrimping and saving to buy a set for their house. When one of the families at the seminary lost their home and all of their possessions in a house fire, my mom told me that Nanny took the money she had been saving and gave it to the family to help them in their time of need. When someone in the family protested, Nanny said she could continue to go to the laundromat.
Matthew 5:42 reminds us, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” I have witnessed many acts of generosity and kindness in my life like that of the Good Samaritan. One that stands out the most for me was the kindness of my dad on a Sunday afternoon in Sri Lanka. We were sitting down to lunch when the bell from the front gate rang. Having just come from church, my dad had his white dress shirt on. He went to see who it was, and what they wanted. We had a clear view of the gate from the dining room and after a brief conversation, we saw my dad take off his white shirt and hand it the man on the other side of the gate.
My dad walked back into the house in his undershirt. After putting on another shirt, he came back to the table. Dad said the man’s mom had passed away, and he didn’t have a white shirt to wear to her funeral. In Sri Lanka, when you go to a funeral you wear all white to honor the one who passed. To attend his mother’s funeral without a white shirt would be dishonoring to his mom and humiliating for him. My dad saw a need and met it.
It’s easy to become calloused to the needs of people, especially when many intentionally take advantage. However, when we see a genuine need, we should ask God to give us a spirit of discernment, and then seek to meet the need to the best of our ability. Just like the Samaritan man, it may be inconvenient. It may cost us something. But it is the call of every believer to serve others and be the body of Christ to those in need.