What can the parable of the Good Samaritan teach us about money?

By Stew

good samaritan

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. “And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. “Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. “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. “On the next day he took out two [a]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.’ “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”  - Luke 10

This is one of the most famous stories in Scripture. The account of the Good Samaritan, given by Jesus Christ is both a heavenly story with practical meaning as well as a satire against the religious elite of his day. The mugged traveler lay dying by the side of the road while two men who were supposed to be ministers of God, a Levite and a Pharisee, passed him by. They did not want to get dirty, they did not want to get involved and they probably did not have time because they had to get to some important event of worship.

Christ makes it clear that to ignore the hurting people around us is a violation of the Christian ethic.

But how about the Samaritan? The Samaritans were considered a half-breed, lower race than the Jews. They hated the Samaritans to the point that any self-respecting Jew would not even cross through the land of Samaria even if it meant walking a day’s journey out of the way! As Christ told this story, the Jewish people standing around must have been flabbergasted – a Samaritan did this?! Imagine what the Levites and the Pharisees thought as they were portrayed in an unfavorable light.

Christ was introducing a new type of religion. A faith where the last would be first, where the least will be the greatest in the kingdom and where leaders were “servants”. It was revolutionary.

The thing about this story that always gets to me is the unrestrained generosity of the Samaritan. He did not just physically care for this man – he did not just take him to safety and bind his wounds – he also gave of his wealth. And according to the story, there seemed to be no limit to his generosity. I can easily see myself helping the man to safety, but giving money and giving what amounted to a blank check is beyond my comprehension. The Samaritan was not concerned for himself, he was not worried about his rights. His only concern was the safety and well-being of this man who was his “neighbor” that day.

How often to we give in order to get something in return? How often do we give with no thought of our own comfort? Do we use our earthly blessing to meet the needs of others? I hope to do a better job in this area. - Article by Stew

Photo by sblhand


7 Responses (including trackbacks) to “What can the parable of the Good Samaritan teach us about money?”

  1. Carrie Says:

    Good article. Thanks for the insight.

  2. Dramon Says:

    To me this is always a challenging story. It is easy to help friends and family; but far more difficult to help a stranger in a such a generous way – both from a time and money issue.

    There are so many worthwhile charities and organziations, all needing support to assist others. Is it better to just help the people you can versus supporting charities who do this work?

  3. Madhu Says:

    Hi

    I’ve been a fan of your for quite a while now.I always read but,never left a comment before.So,this will be my first.I’m not a Christian by faith.I’ve heard the phrase “Good Samaritan” used quite oftenly but,never have heard the story.Good to know it now.My husband is a “Good Samaritan” in that sense,mostly when it comes to money.Everytime he sees a person in need he’d just give away large amounts of money to solve their financial problems.I’d be always wooried about our own comforts,our kids.What will we do when we need the money without having any savings.It’s good to help others but to what extent.Hubby recently gave a large amount og money to clear off his friend’s debt.But,was it a responsible thing to do.His friend needs to know how to handle his own money problems.He got into debt for his personal luxuries.So,does it justify as a good act to give money to a financially irresponsible person??

    -madhu

  4. Stephanie Says:

    Wow what great insight! As a Christian i totally understand and can appreciate this. God Bless!

  5. financia at FinancialFreakShow.com Says:

    This is a good post.

    It’s so easy to look up and realize you’ve only thought of yourself for a time – not in a butt head sort of way but you & your needs are usually at the the of your own list.
    It’s good to remember things like this from time to time.

  6. Steve Says:

    It appears that when it comes to helping out and giving, Jesus wants us to do it without thinking about ourselves. God first, or neighbor first, and ourselves last. Another example is “The Widow’s Offering” – Mark 12:41-44.
    One of the things I struggle with is the question of whether it is a possible to reach a point where your interaction with people does not have an element of self-interest in it. For example, I hope that as a blogger, I add value, and I help people. Is my expectation of comments, and may be making some money in the process sinful? [I am assuming that helping people is not only through giving them money, it can be through providing advice and/or other service.] Is it possible for me to contribute to the conversation at various blogs, without expecting to get something in return, for example, some readers coming to visit my blog?
    I suspect that Jesus wants our ego to die. Once that happens, it becomes much easier to live for God and others. Obviously, I am NOT talking from experience. But it seems clear from reading the lives of the saints and the holy ones that it is easier to do God’s will and be a servant of men when you let go of your ego and concern for yourself. When one reaches that point, questions of how much to help, who to help, what to eat tomorrow, where to sleep, etc do not arise.
    Thanks for this nice post. And sorry for the long comment. The issue raised is something I struggle with.

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