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Summary: The parable of the good Samaritan reveals different holiday attitudes.

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INTRO.- ILL.- An angry lady went into a grocery store and told a clerk that she wanted a half-head of lettuce and she wanted it right now. "Get going!" she screamed at the clerk.

"But lady," said the clerk, "we don’t have half heads of lettuce." "Young man," she shrieked, "get a knife and cut a head in two." "Yes ma’am," he said, "Let me go back and talk to the manager."

He found the manager and said, "There’s a crabby woman out there who wants one-half head of lettuce." He suddenly glanced over his shoulder and there stood the woman. He quickly said, "AND HERE IS THE NICE LADY WHO WANTS THE OTHER HALF."

Brothers and sisters, what’s your attitude? Most people have "an attitude." They have an attitude about life. Some have a good attitude. While others have a very different attitude about life.

ILL.- Remember the popular TV series called "The A Team"? One of the stars was B.A. Baracus. What did the BA stand for? BAD ATTITUDE. Mr. T (Laurence Turead) played the part of B.A. Baracus.

ILL.- Simeon Ford, the proprietor of the Old Grand Union Hotel in New York, said, "You don’t need to know anything about a hotel to run one," he said. "You just open up and the customers tell you how to run it." WHAT DID HE MEAN BY THIS?

I think he meant that most people are quick to gripe and complain about something if they don’t like it. Most of us are this way. If we see something we don’t like, we are quick to say something about it. But if we see something we like, we tend to keep our mouths shut.

Gripers and complainers have a bad attitude about life. It seems they are always looking at things in a negative way. On the other hand, people who have a good attitude about life try to focus on the good things of life and the good in people. They are generally quick to give thanks and to praise others.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What’s your attitude about life?

ILL.- Here is a better way to view life. Because of the housing shortage near the military base where he was stationed, a young doctor and his wife and three children had to live in cramped quarters in a hotel. A friend said to the doctor’s six-year-old daughter, "Isn’t it too bad that you don’t have a home?" To which the philosophic young one replied, "Oh, we have a home; we just don’t have a house to put it in."

ILL.- Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do.

Which are you? Vulture type or hummingbird type?

PROP.- In the parable/story of the good Samaritan we have three basic attitudes that people have toward others. We need to think about them during this holiday season.

1- Attitude of the robbers - stealing

2- Attitude of the priest and Levite - hoarding

3- Attitude of the Samaritan - giving

I. ATTITUDE OF THE ROBBERS - STEALING

What’s yours is mine and I’ll get it!

Luke 10:30 "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead."

Brothers and sisters, there are many ways of stripping people, robbing people and leaving them half dead.

ILL.- A businessman on his deathbed called his friend and said, "Bill, I want you to promise me that when I die you will have my remains cremated." "And what," his friend asked, "do you want me to do with your ashes?" The businessman said, "Just put them in an envelope and mail them to the Internal Revenue Service and write on the envelope, ‘NOW YOU HAVE EVERYTHING!’"

I know that many people feel like the federal government is ripping them off in regard to their taxes. Any theft is not good.

ILL.- One executive was telling another about the trouble he had keeping a secretary. He said, "I lost the last one, because she had so many coffee breaks that she couldn’t sleep nights."

Too many coffee breaks spell theft. It says that somebody is stealing time from their employer. We’ve all seen it done.

ILL.- Elaine was the office coordinator for the Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna, IL. She retired after 28 years. One reason that she retired was that she got tired of seeing people steal from the state of Illinois. She saw them steal time and many other things. She was the time-keeper at Choate Mental Health. Many people were habitually late or else they left as early as they could get away with it. THEFT COMES IN MANY FORMS.

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Tony Earl

commented on Nov 23, 2006

Thank you very much for the fresh look at the good Samaritan. Holiday sermons can get stale after a few years. Nice to get fresh bread. PTL

Gary Pettyjohn

commented on Nov 2, 2007

Hey Steve, I really liked this sermon. The illustrations are excellent. Thanks, Gary

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