Summary: Jesus is calling His people to live a life of practical love for the world to see.
October 21, 2001
A survivor of a Nazi death camp wrote these words very bitterly: "Here’s to a world that did not care. To those who had eyes but would not see. To those who had ears but would not hear. To those who had voices but would not speak."
Practical love is love that goes into the world and finds people where people are in life. Practical love goes the extra mile with no hesitation. Practical love is exactly what Jesus Christ reveals to the world from the cross. Practical love goes into the world where the rubber meets the road. Jesus is calling His people to show practical love to an impractical world.
Practical love can take many forms and appear in many different ways. Practical love is seen in the soup kitchen as food is given to the hungry. Practical love is shown when we enter the hospital room of the sick. Practical love is revealed when we weep with those who have just lost a loved one. Practical love is powerful! Jesus is calling His people to show practical love to an impractical world.
When love becomes practical it becomes influential. When love becomes practical it becomes inclusive. When love becomes practical it becomes intimate. Practical love makes a dramatic impact on a dying world. Jesus is calling His people to show practical love to an impractical world.
What does it mean to show practical love to an impractical world?
Keys to Living with Practical Love
I. We cannot ignore a hurting world
A. The traveler was injured
The traveler was attacked while going to Jerusalem. The attack left the traveler robber with no money, stripped with no clothing and beaten with severe injuries
B. The pain of our world
We are surrounded by a great deal of pain. Everywhere you look in our society people are plagued with pain. Some are struck with injuries or illnesses that place them in physical pain. Some are dealing with stigma and scars of emotional pain. Some are living in the darkness and despair of spiritual pain. The mission of the church is to reach out to those in pain. Our purpose is to reach out with hope and healing to a hurting world. Our purpose is to reach out with the love of Christ.
II. We must be involved in compassion
A. The traveler was in need of compassion
The traveler was robbed, stripped, beaten and left for dead. He most definitely needed someone to have compassion on him.
The priest saw the man and went on by. How amazing that a man who was to work for the welfare of people ignored this man in need. His focus was more on the duty of religion than on devotion to God
The Levite approached the man but decided not to act. No reason is given for the man’s inaction but it could be as a result of fear. The thieves could still be nearby and he could be their next victim. If other people passed by the Levite might be blamed for the attack. Perhaps assisting the man was too much trouble and the Levite continued on his way.
B. Christ acted with compassion
Christ sets a model for active compassion for us to follow. We see brilliant examples of Christ’s compassion throughout the gospels but none were so definite than His plea for the forgiveness of those who had crucified Him. Everywhere that Jesus went He showed compassion on everyone, even those who rejected Him. “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36) Jesus showed compassion on those who needed it most. He ate with tax collectors. He touched lepers to heal them. He openly associated with sinners. He openly loved people.
We are to also show an active compassion. We are to follow the example set by Christ. We are to show mercy and compassion on those who are hurting and helpless. We are to reach out to this hurting world. We have been called to go and make a difference.
III. We must be intensive in our caring
A. The traveler needed intensive caring
The Samaritan showed sympathy
The Samaritan reached out to this man when no one else would do so. He went out of his way to help this total stranger knowing that his help might be a source of tension to the traveler. Jews despised Samaritans because of their race and religion.
The Samaritan showed support
The Samaritan could have done just enough to get the man some help. However, we see the Samaritan going the extra mile for this complete stranger. He bandaged the travelers wounds and used oil and wine, from his own goods, to clean these wounds. The Samaritan showed great support to this wounded man.