For Sunday, July 14, 2013
What struck me about this familiar story is not that it was the Samaritan who helped the Jew but rather the extent to which the Samaritan helped him. Our Samaritan exemplar was not only willing to pull over, see what had really happened, and then engage. He went well beyond. He took his charge to a nearby inn and gave the innkeeper what amounted to a blank check to do whatever made sense. “The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend'” (v. 35). Mr. Samaritan could have ended his involvement there but committed to returning after fulfilling another commitment.
This Samaritan was a man who knew the blessing of grounding one’s life in faithful lovingkindness to others. The lawyer whose original question prompted Jesus to tell this story could not have missed this. The issue for our lawyer was not to understand the limit of his responsibility but rather the extent of his opportunity.
So it is for us. Where do my gifts, vocation, and avocation create opportunities to bless the lives of others with the steadfast lovingkindness of the gospel of the kingdom of God? Where does my church’s time, talent, and treasure offer corporate opportunities for the same? Where these answers lead is where we can validate God’s steadfast love to us by extending it to others.