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