Have you passed by people you should have talked to?

Chets Creek Church 

40 Days with Jesus – October 31st – Luke 10:25-37


I’ve always liked the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  In fact, I even remember playing a part from this parable in the children’s musical at church as a kid.  I was, after all, a good-natured child, always seeking to put the needs of my siblings and friends ahead of my own.  Just ask my parents – I’m sure they’ll agree with everything I just said.  So I assumed that I would be a natural fit for the role of the Good Samaritan.  Unfortunately, the adults who did the casting felt otherwise.


The part that I was assigned was that of the priest’s limo driver.  No joke.  I was passed-over for the role of the Good Samaritan, and the guy who got beat up, and the guys who beat him up, and the Levite, and the priest, and was given the role of the priest’s limo driver.  Now the Bible doesn’t specifically mention the priest’s limo driver, but this was a very important role in our modern-day rendition of a parable originally set in first-century Palestine.


Luke tells us that the priest saw the man who had been beaten-up and robbed and “he passed by” (Luke 10:31).  I was the eight year old charged with pulling the cardboard cut-out of a limousine across a church stage while a slightly better dressed eight year old followed behind and instructed me to keep moving past yet another eight year old who was sprawled out on the stage floor and pretending to have been beaten-up and robbed.  For those of you who know me, this glimpse into my childhood probably explains a lot.


As I reflect back on this childhood memory, I can’t help but think about the many people over the years that I’ve “passed by.”  The point of Jesus’ parable is to show that the neighbors that we are supposed to love as ourselves (Luke 10:27) could be anyone.  It could be someone of a different ethnic or religious tradition than you.  Perhaps it is someone of a different socioeconomic status than you.  Or even someone that has mistreated you in the past.


Jesus’ instruction is for us to have mercy on those that we encounter without regard to who they are or what they’ve done.  I struggle so very much with this command.  It’s easy to love my family and friends – most of the time.  And loving people who have done something for me is pretty straightforward as well.  But love someone that I don’t think is deserving of my love?  Or someone that I don’t know – who probably wouldn’t even expect anything from me?  Now that’s a different story.


I’m thankful that Jesus didn’t have this same attitude.  If he only loved the people who were easy to love or the people who deserved his love, then his sacrificial death on the cross wouldn’t have been for many – if any.  Instead, he “made himself nothing” (Philippians 2:7) and substituted himself for the sins of all humanity without any effort of our own.  In doing so, Christ made a way for us, by faith and repentance, to experience both abundant and eternal life.


I hope that you will join me today in praying for God to change our hearts and open our eyes to those that we’ve “passed by.”  May we obey Jesus’ command and follow his example to love our neighbors when they least expect it and least deserve it.


Mark Smith

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