Summary: Am I really willing to serve others?
Today’s message comes to us from the gospel of Luke Chapter 10. It is the (BIBLE) story of the good Samaritan. It begins with a wrong perspective regarding the effectiveness of our own efforts to get us into heaven, and ends with a commandment regarding the intention of our actions here on earth. It begins with a question about eternal life and ends with a judgment regarding our attitudes toward others. This familiar story, upon close examination, has the ability to strip away our pretenses about what it means to display God’s compassion to each other and to the world.
It is… convicting. Especially to me, as I examine my own life in comparison to God’s standard.
Today I would like us to take a walk through this story, see what truths we can glean from it, and hopefully encourage us to examine ourselves as we seek to serve Christ and display His message of love to a lost, skeptical and hurting world.
Please listen as I read from the gospel of Luke Chapter 10 verses 25-37.
The Story of the Good Samaritan
25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’[h] and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”[i]
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed,[j] he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he (the lawyer) said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
I would like to open with a story from many years ago captured in the newspapers…
(“The Murder of Kitty Genovese")
“At approximately 3:20 on the morning of March 13, 1964, twenty-eight-year-old [[CLICK]] …(Kitty) Genovese was returning to her home in a nice middle-class area of Queens, NY…. She parked her car in a nearby parking lot, turned-off the lights and started the walk to her second floor apartment some 35 yards away. She got as far as a streetlight when a man grabbed her. She screamed. Lights went on in the 10-floor apartment building nearby. She yelled, "Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me!" Windows opened in the apartment building and a man’s voice shouted, "Let that girl alone." The attacker looked up, and then fled. Ms Genovese struggled to get to her feet. Lights went back off in the apartments. The attacker came back and stabbed her again. She again cried out, "I’m dying! I’m dying!" And again the lights came on and windows opened in many of the nearby apartments. The assailant got into his car and drove away. Ms Genovese staggered to her feet. It was now 3:35 a.m. The attacker returned once again. He found her in a doorway at the foot of the stairs and he stabbed her a third time -- this time with fatal consequences. It was 3:50 when the police received the first call. They responded quickly and within two minutes were at the scene. Ms Genovese was already dead…. " [THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 27, 1964, p. 38.]
Kitty Genovese … was a name that would become symbolic in the public mind for a dark side of the national character. It would stand for Americans who were too indifferent or frightened or alienated or self-absorbed to “get involved’’ in helping a fellow human being in dire trouble.