What would you do if there was a man, woman or even a child on the side of the road hurt? Many of us would do something to help? Some may call 911 while others would pull over to see what is wrong and believe it or not, there are those who would just pass by, intentionally or even unintentionally (too busy or have “other” important things to do). Then you have the very few who would actually stop, get out of their vehicles and take the injured to a nearby hospital.
In this next story you will be amazed at “who” actually took the time while using their own resources to help another, a stranger in fact. Jesus shared a story with a man who was inquiring about how he could obtain eternal life. Jesus asked the man “what does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, ” And WHO is my neighbor?” “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion . Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, “Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.” Now which of these would say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same“ Luke 10:25-37
When I was growing up as a young Christian woman I heard many messages about “Faith” but yet very little, if any about “loving your neighbor” and what it “really” meant. It wasn’t until years later as a grown woman did I actually learn what Jesus said about the subject. I even found that showing mercy toward those in need and helping others was also a very big part in the lives of God’s people even in the old testament. Before I go any further let me settle one important truth according to the scriptures. We are not saved by works! BUT, and this is a big BUT, showing mercy and performing acts of mercy are the “fruit” of a TRUE believer, this fruit “proves” our faith in Jesus Christ and that we are his followers. Let’s take a look at what the word of God says, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves (your own works): it is the Gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (be a part of our Christian lifestyle) Ephesians 2:8-10 kjv OK, so we become Christians by believing in Jesus Christ, but then once we accept him as our Lord and Savior, now we are required and expected to show our faith (fruit) by doing good, loving and showing mercy on our neighbor. James says it quite clearly in the book of James chapter 2 beginning in verse 1, “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor” well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgements are guided by evil motives?” Now let’s look at verse 14-17 “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” but then you DON’T give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds (fruit), it is dead and useless.”
My husband has been a teacher of the Bible for over 30 years and it wasn’t until 11 years ago did Jesus himself show him that one day we will all stand before him and give account for our deeds or the lack of. Jesus himself led my husband to Mathew chapter 25 where Jesus shares about what in fact will happen on Judgement day. It will not be about our sins of the flesh that we will be judged for! No! We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Jesus paid for EVERY sin when he went to the cross, was beaten for our wrongs, crucified, dead and thanks to God and his rich mercy, was brought back to life again for you and me! Every sin paid for!! Let’s see what Jesus says about that day, “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory (Jesus) and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence (you, me and every breathing human being) and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the King will say to those one his right, “come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you invited me into your home. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or Naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? ” And the King will say, ” I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Mathew 25 31-39
For the sake of time I encourage you to continue reading beginning in verse 40-46. It is here where Jesus speaks of the eternal destiny of those who refuse to help those in need. Who refuse or make excuse and end up doing “Nothing”. Listen friends, the true follower of Jesus has the love of God inside of them, by the Holy Spirit, and so you can begin now to get involved by helping others. Love is action, it’s not just a word, it proves that we have God’s love inside of us and the Lord is expecting us to put it to good use: Love one another.
If this subject is of interest to you and you’d like to hear the whole story and learn more of how you can help those in your world, you’re invited to go to my husbands NEW series “THE GREAT AWAKENING” on our website at poncechurch.com