“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:25-37 NIV
Jesus shares the parable of the good Samaritan in response to a religious leader’s question of “who is my neighbor?” In his story, Jesus tells of a priest and a Levite, both religious leaders, who walk by the dying man on the road. Both avoid the man and choose not to help. Then Jesus describes the way the Samaritan notices the man, has compassion on him, and takes care of his needs. A powerful story with a profoundly simple truth—A religious title doesn’t make you a good neighbor; your actions make you a good neighbor.
It’s crazy how directly this story applies to our lives. Take a second to think about it…
We are constantly surrounded by people—roommates, hallmates, classmates, people in the dining hall, friends. AND we are regularly exposed to their needs—stress from school, bad days, friends who are sick, peers who are lonely.
More than we realize, we have these good Samaritan opportunities throughout our week. We could convince ourselves that we’re fine because we go to Freshley, and justify our inaction towards those around us. OR we can notice these people and meet their needs. If you want to follow the teachings of Jesus and be a good neighbor, your life is going to look like loving those around you. There’s really no other way around it. God is calling you to care for others—even if it’s inconvenient.
The Samaritan took care of the dying man by bandaging his wounds, taking him to an inn, caring for him, and paying for his stay. It wasn’t just helping; it was extravagant love. The dude was a complete stranger, but the Samaritan had mercy and showed a ton of grace. How could this look in your life? It may look like reaching out to lonely people. It may look like listening to someone who’s having a hard day. It may look like giving food to someone in need. It could look like a lot of different things, but it definitely doesn’t look like inaction. Love does; neighbors do.
Jesus, I pray that you give me your eyes for those around me. I want to be a neighbor, so help me notice their needs. Give me the grace and the compassion to reach out to people who are struggling. Give me your love for others. I pray that as I love other people, they will know you more, Jesus.