Sometimes a subject is just too good to cram it into one week’s post and so here we are embarking on round two of the topic “contributing to the wholeness of others”. I don’t know about you but as the temperatures warm up here, I find myself reaching for iced tea instead of coffee or maybe my new favorite…lemon, ginger water. Grab whatever you want in your cup and lets continue our discussion of Luke 10:25-37. If you missed last week’s post, you may want to back up and give that a read before picking this one back up.
We were talking about how Jesus uses the Samaritan man in the text to teach us some principles to cultivate wholeness in those we encounter. Let me pause for one moment and re-iterate that we are all broken in one way or another. That is the reality of living in a sin wrecked world. However, the more we love Jesus, press into His heart by the study of His Word, our broken pieces will be progressively mended and we will become more and more aware of how we can encourage others to find healing in Him as well.
Last week we talked through 3 principles of helping others find wholeness. I’ll restate them here quickly and then we will move forward.
1-We must be willing to stopand engage with the wounded people around us.
2-We must see/acknowledgethose who are hurting and need our help.
3-We must have genuine compassionfor those we come in contact with.
Now, lets continue in the text and see what followed….
“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:33-37
4-The Samaritan gave him aid. This step can be extremely difficult because we are not always sure what someone really needs from us. What type of “aid” will best help them? And if we are being honest, we don’t always feel equipped to supply the aid that the wounded might require. The Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary in this step. If the wound is simply physical, then we might give physical aid (a meal, a drink, a ride, a service). Yet, more often than not the wounded we encounter have far deeper wounds than we can discern by a quick conversation. We must ask the Lord for wisdom and grace to provide the aid that will best minister to their real need. Did you note that the Samaritan had to change his posture in order to provide aid to the wounded one? There are times when we must just come and sit in silence with the one who has been broken. That just might be the best aid we can offer! I thought of Job 2:11-13…
“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”
5-The Samaritan shared his possessions-when we endeavor to genuinely contribute to the wholeness of others it requires a lot from us. Our time, our attention, our emotions, our prayers and our stuff! This particular step is only made easier by the acceptance of the fact, that….it’s NOT our stuff. The Samaritan clearly realized that his life, his time, his attention, his schedule, his supplies, his animal, and his money were not really his but they were given to him to be used to help others. When we hold the resources we have been given with open hands and seek to use them to glorify the Giver of all good gifts, then ministry becomes much easier and more beneficial in the lives of others.
6-The Samaritan sacrificed for the wounded one’s care-As I have said before, ministry is messy! Engaging those around us who have suffered wounds and been left behind in their brokenness is the very thing we are called to do if we are Jesus lovers and followers. There are times when the sacrifice is small and we barely recognize it, but other times the sacrifice is almost unbearable and we wonder if we will be broken in the process of trying to help those in need. This is the deep end of living for the long haul. Jesus wept in the Garden as He talked to the Father about the sacrifice He would make for the soul wounded world. He boldly went to the cross and willingly surrendered His life for the sin broken hearts that desperately needed salvation.
Friends, this is real living, real walking, real and meaningful ministry and we only are empowered to do this kind of living as we remember the degrees to which Jesus went for each of us. We remember His mercy toward us, the ones beaten and left for dead by our sin and the enemy of our souls. We remember that He stopped, He saw, He had compassion, He gave us Himself as aid, He shared His righteousness and He sacrificed His life for us. How then can we not make it our daily delight to live in a way that contributes to the wholeness of those around us?
Lastly, if there is one thing I know it’s this….we can feed people, we can donate our time, money, resources, etc to the broken ones around us but if we never love them enough to actually speak of Jesus, there will never be any wholeness. Wholeness is only found in the whole love of the Holy God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Oh that we might live this week as the Samaritans of our day.