Everyone wants to be the good Samaritan. That is how we all want to see ourselves. Well, forget it. In these politically correct days, no one qualifies. We are no longer supposed to hold those kind of prejudicial, racist, lump-them-all-together as a group sentiments. Besides, we would have to fit into a category like snakes or spiders where there is a kind of universal hatred. True, we still have our prejudices, but we no longer even agree on who that is. I mean, this is not like Nazi Germany where everyone hates the Jew, you know what I mean?
So instead, people get divisive when they approach this passage. Lay leaders point out that the minister walked on the other side of the road. And in some cases, that might be true—but I won’t say it. Then Ministers defend themselves by spending the next twenty minutes explaining what Levites are and how they approximate the modern day lay leaders. And the man in the pew laughs at them both until one says, “So you are now the expert in the law? Yeah? Go and do likewise.” And everyone leaves with a grumble, grumble.
Nope (big nope). There is only one honest way to approach the Good Samaritan, and that is the way Jesus presented it to that expert in the law. He just did not use the word, “YOU.”
So, Joe lost his job through no fault of his own. Not a big surprise in this economy. Then he lost his house because he could not keep up the payments when he could not find another job right away. And bankruptcy loomed because he lived off credit for too many years. Maybe that is you. Maybe not, but this is just a “for example:”
So Joe went to his friends and the ones that were not in his same boat suggested he try other places. He was interrupting their golf game, I guess. No, that is not fair, but we no longer think of actual one on one, self-sacrifice to help another in our culture. We think agency or government and then we prefer not to think of it at all. (For shame on us).
So Joe went to the church (Salvation Army, Goodwill, whatever) and they said that times were tough all over and they did not have the charity dollars they used to have. Besides, the government had taken over certain things so even in the best of times they could only offer one-time help. They were no longer equipped to offer long-term assistance. (For shame on the church).
So then Joe went to the government and they laughed and said he was not qualified for this, that and the other reason, like they were trying to find reasons to deny him rather than trying to help. It was like their bonus or raise or promotion depended on denying people, or something. They did say that maybe if he stood on his head and spit nickels, he might get something—but no guarantee. (I would say for shame on the government but that would be an oxymoron).
So Joe was sitting on the curb and a skinny kid walked up. (21 is still a kid to me). He had scraggly hair half-way down to his elbows with lots of split ends, and a beard, stringy, unkempt and too long. His clothes were patched and his untied boots looked like they had seen better days. And he smelled like maybe if he had a bath, he put the same clothes back on that he had not washed in a month—and smeared deodorant or something all over.
Anyway, he invited Joe to a house where there were others, some strange, some needing serious help, but all nice. They fed him, prayed with him, gave him a roof, and made music into the night. These kids had nothing but they were happy. Soon enough, Joe began to feel better about himself and about the human race and he wondered why he was holding out for management anyway. There were plenty of jobs he could do and make a contribution. Heck, even the scraggly, patch-work kid helped out at the soup kitchen once a week.
So, by the way, if you see that scraggly, smelly, patched up kid, tell him it wouldn’t hurt if he called home once in a while.