What does it truly mean to be a Good Samaritan? Picking up someone's tab at the restaurant? Helping someone put their groceries in their car? Opening the door for someone? Holding the elevator for the late straggler?
While all of those are definite examples of giving of yourself to help another, let's dig a little deeper in the story of the Good Samaritan.
During the time of the Savior, Jesus Christ, there were few social classes of people, namely the Pharisees, the Samaritans, and the Jews. They weren't afraid to share their distaste for one another by open bloodshed, stealing, killing and other forms of violence. Naturally when you're not in favor of another or their social status, the tendency is to look the other way if they're in danger, if you're not already causing it yourself.
Jesus Christ tells a parable, in the Holy Bible, of the Good Samaritan. A parable is a metaphoric-style story that helps you further connect with the purpose of the story. He tells of a man who was badly beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. He was a Jew by custom, therefore one who taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, which not everyone freely accepted during this time. He was robbed of his meager possessions and most of his clothes. His wounds were deep and his body was too weak to seek for help on his own; he needed the help of another.
There were at least 3 priests who passed him by. When they looked to determine who, or what social class he was rather, and concluded that he was a Jew, they kept on moving along their path. They didn't even give him what they had and still left him alone.
They did NOTHING. They simply judged him and moved on.
One man, a Samaritan came along and noticed the man. He immediately knelt down to help his fellow traveler, completely disregarding who he was, what is social inclination was, or even what others would think of him for helping this man. He brought items out of his purse (bag) and revived him enough to carry him into the city to be looked after. He stayed with the man for a night in an inn and upon his departure, he gave his money to the inn-keeper and then went on his way offering to bring back more money if it was needed for his care.
(paraphrased from Luke 10:30-35)
While doing small acts of service warrant us a "good job" pat on the back, could we do more to lift another? Could we look at all children of God as that, Children of God, and know that they are worth saving? What if it means we put ourselves into a difficult situation doing so? It doesn't mean we have to put ourselves into danger, but it does mean that we are being stretched outside of our comfort levels to lift another, possibly in an area that we might be unfamiliar with.
A quick story about the few times that we have made something scary for another, something fun for us. We inherited an off-roading truck by a good friend of ours as he bought it from and auction and noticed that we had interest in it. It magically showed up in our driveway a few years ago on my husbands birthday, which was well timed because he was very ill that year. This friend, with wonderful intentions, wanted us to experience the fun that off-roading can be with a lifted truck, independent suspension, yada yada yada man talk. At first I was excited for the many adventures it would take us on, both as a family and with this man and his family. We have created great memories together. What I didn't know was that it was only going to get better!
Because our truck is lifted and higher off than ground than most boulders, it affords us to opportunity to explore places that others can't, and that means MUD up to your door! My FAVORITE, EEK!!!!! On one such occasion, we were traveling on our way back down a mountain and noticed someone was stuck in water up to their door. This well meaning individual thought he could take his stock issued tires and no lift kit truck through a 3 foot "puddle" and not get stuck. (At this point in our journey, we were headed home, tired, hungry and still nervous about some of our adventures we had just accomplished (almost falling off the side of the mountain, no biggie)). When we approached this man, my husband instantly felt the desire to help him get out. Not only because it was going to be fun, but because that's the heart that he was blessed with. My kids were all whining because they wanted to go home, but I taught them the wonderful parable of the Good Samaritan. We did have to sacrifice our time and energy to help this man complete his journey back down the mountain. What came from it was more than I could have ever hoped for.
Now every time we see someone in need, specifically stuck somewhere, our kids with eagerness push aside their agendas to find a way to help. It does help that it's fun too!
God needs more willing people who will stand for what is right and help their neighbor. Neighbor is openly referred to as anyone that you come across each and every day. Let us find more opportunities ourselves to be that Samaritan that doesn't care about what others may think of us, what we might have to sacrifice with our time or our finances and lift another.
For when we lift another, we are drawing closer to our Savior.