Jump Start # 3471
Luke 10:35 “And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.’”
Our verse today comes from the parable of the good Samaritan. Jesus used this story to illustrate and define the concept of a neighbor. The winding, twisting road that descends from Jerusalem to Jericho, was the perfect place for dangerous marauders to rob lone travelers. The victim in this story was more than robbed, he was beaten and left “half dead,” the text tells us. We are not told if the man was Jewish, but his hero and savior that day was not. He was a foreigner. He was Samaritan.
The likely ones to help, a priest and a Levite, did not. In fact, they did nothing. They pass on the other side and nothing more is said about them. Did they tell anyone once they were safely in town? Did they reach out to the first century 911?
The Samaritan did more than just help the man up. He bandaged him, and it seems that he stayed the night watching him. As he left the next day, he paid the inn keeper and left him with a promise that he would cover any additional expenses. He didn’t have to do that. He wasn’t responsible. He had a heart and that heart was generous.
Now, tucked in our verse today is a thought that we need to think about today. The Samaritan had the funds to help out the injured man. This was something he hadn’t planned. This wasn’t in his budget. The average credit card debt in America is $7,900. At least 47% of Americans could not come up with $500 if there was an emergency. That translates to having to go deeper into debt to cover the emergency.
Times are tough and things are costing a lot these days. However, a modern Samaritan could not help the injured man because he wouldn’t have any money. Likely, he whip out his credit card and just go deeper and deeper into debt.
So, here are some end of the year thoughts for us about finances:
First, average in America isn’t the standard to go by. Most face retirement with great financial fears. There is a great concern that they will run out of money some day. And, if we just keep up with everyone else, we are not really keeping up.
Second, we need to get to a place where we can help others out. Paul’s words to Timothy places the responsibility of helping parents first and foremost on grown children. However, from the stats today, that won’t happen. So, we need to understand that simply contributing on Sunday doesn’t fulfill my responsibilities to helping others. There are things that ought to come out of my pocket and not from the church. To be able to do that, one must be able.
Third, it’s not advanced math to understand that you cannot spend more than you make. Congress does this, but we are not Congress. A detailed budget will keep you in your proper lane. The holidays can wreck you if you don’t have a budget. About 22% are still paying for last year’s Christmas. That’s nearly 1 in 4 people. Here we are at this year’s Christmas and last year’s hasn’t been paid for. Now throw in a vacation or two and you see the mess people get into. Vacations are so much sweeter when they are paid for before you ever leave your house.
Budgeting is the key. Stick to it like Scriptures. When you have a little left over at the end of the month, toss that into savings to build up your emergency fund. Don’t touch it unless it is truly an emergency. Going out to eat is not an emergency. If your work provides a matching 401, that’s free money. Invest to the max that they will let you. And, don’t ever touch it. Learning to get by on less and being content will help you write that budget each month.
Throughout the year there are always occasions to help others. Some have large medical bills. Some are raising money to adopt a child. There are needs overseas among our brethren. The Samaritan had the funds to help the injured man.
Sure is something for us to think about in this season of giving. Generous is our God and generous ought to be His people. Make some financial goals for the new year. Sit down together and work on a budget. Spontaneous shopping and unexpected expenses crush our financial goals. Be wise with your money. Be more than a steward, but a GREAT STEWARD.
Who would have thought back then, the heart of a Samaritan was more like God than that of the heartless Pharisees. Wonder what kind of heart we have? Sure is something to think about and make adjustments.