Jump Start # 2942
Luke 10:33-34 “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.”
At the core of Christianity and our faith is service. Helping others. Teaching others. Being an example to others. Making things better than we found them. Jesus was the master of this. When needed, He went. He improved the lives of so many. He demonstrated service by washing the feet of the disciples.
There are four elements to serving. All four are necessary.
First, there must be a need. Without a need, you have nothing to serve.
Second, there must be an awareness of that need. The need may be there, but if you do not know about it, then you won’t serve. This is where good communication within a congregation is vital. Announcements given in worship are times to get out you pen and paper and write down things. These are opportunities to serve.
Third, you must have the resources to serve. There may be a need and you may know about it, but if you are not in the position to do anything, then nothing will get done.
Fourth, you must have a heart that cares. The first three elements can be present, but if you don’t care, then you won’t do anything.
Now, in our verse today, you see these four elements coming together. There was an injured man on the road. That’s the need. The Samaritan “came upon him.” That’s the awareness. Now he knows. “He felt compassion.” That’s the heart. Then he “bandaged up his wounds, poured oil and wine on them” and “took care of him.” That’s resources.
In contrast, when you read about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, three of the four elements of serving are present. Lazarus was sick. That’s the need. He was laid at the rich man’s gate. That’s awareness. The rich man ate well every day. That’s resources. What’s missing was the heart. The rich man ignored Lazarus. And, because the heart was missing, no service was given. Lazarus died. The rich man was found guilty of neglect because he did nothing when he could have helped out.
And, before us are those same four elements of service. Whether it’s a new mom home from the hospital, someone who has had surgery or battling cancer, a co-worker who has questions about the Bible, or a neighbor who needs help moving a couch. Service. Lending a helping hand. Need. Awareness. Resources. Heart. When those four things come together, great things are done. Lights shine. People are helped. Goodness is demonstrated. But when one or more is lacking, then people question our faith, wonder about our love and see a coldness and indifference to us.
So all of this points to some things that can help us serve.
First, keep your eyes and ears open. The awareness of needs is very rarely is asked. People would rather do things themselves, even when they can’t. So don’t wait to be asked. Take some food over. Take a new family from church out to eat. Ask that co-worker if they are doing ok. The Galatians were told, “As we have opportunity, let us do good…” Opportunities are there, but often we either do not see them, or we see them too late.
Second, have resources so you can help. If we are always running broke and spending everything we bring in, then we will never be in the position to help others. You do not have to take care of all of their needs, just do what you can. A gift card to a college student can sure make his day. Pitching in and going in with others can add up to help someone’s medical bills. Many would love to help, but they lack the resources.
Third, you have to care. Without the heart, nothing will get done. If all you ever think about is yourself, nothing will get done. God wants us to love all. And, that all includes the lepers, Samaritans and tax collectors of our day. Don’t be stingy with your generosity, love and compassion. Don’t keep your heart in house. The Samaritan in our verse felt compassion for the injured man, likely a Jew. He probably didn’t know him. He probably didn’t know what happened. None of those things mattered. Here was a need. The Samaritan had resources. The Samaritan cared. That’s all it takes for someone to jump into action and do what they can.
How many times do we hear someone saying, “Well, I didn’t know that they needed anything.” Could it be that we didn’t try to find out? Could it be that we were hoping that someone else would take care of that? Could it be that we need to think long and hard about our heart and our love for others? Could it be that we’ve forgotten the golden rule and failed to see the steps of our Savior?
Need—Awareness-Resources-Heart…the Samaritan had it and the rich man didn’t. How about you?