Summary: The message encourages people to have compassion on the hurting people they come in contact with.
The Good Samaritan
"What do I owe you for that?" I often heard my Dad say those words whenever someone helped us along the way. He said that one night to a stranger that helped us change a flat tire on Interstate 26; he said to individuals who rescued us when we ran out of gas in the middle of the lake; and countless other times when we found ourselves needing a helping hand.
"What do I owe you for that?" Our culture is driven by the idea that everything that happens around us must be paid for. If someone does something for us, we seek ways to pay them back. We don’t want to be indebted to anybody for anything. Instead, we’re always looking for ways to pay people back for everything from the simple acts of service like recharging a dead car battery to greater sacrifices like we saw in the video clip giving a car away.
There are people in this community that give cars away. I received a phone call one Saturday from a neighbor that said, "We have a car that we would like to give away. Is there anyone in your church that needs one." A few days later God met a need for a family here through a stranger.
In the movie "Pay It Forward," a twelve year old, seventh grader takes the assignment to come up with a way in which to improve the world. His concept was simple. Instead of living life trying to pay people back, he would begin to pay people forward. He would begin to do random acts of service for people and when they attempted to pay him back, he would tell them to return the favor to three more people. He figured that if every day he did three acts of service and those three individuals did three acts of service the next day, that over the short time of two weeks, over 4.5 million people would have been impacted. Of course this concept is not new, Amway has been selling soap like this for years.
After this movie came out, our nation became entranced with the idea. Newspapers ran cover stories about the concept. In fact, the Augusta Chronicle ran a story about a friend of ours, Michael Carr and Central Church of Hilton Head Island. Michael gave fifty members of his church an envelop containing fifty dollars. He then asked them to "pay if forward" and help someone out along the way.
Helping someone along the way the core of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Today, we are beginning a new series called A Jesus Story. Jesus was a master storyteller. Many of the stories Jesus told are based on real-life historical events that occurred while he was on the earth. On occasion, however, he ventured into the world of fictional story telling. He used fiction to uncover the heart of his audience. These fictional stories were called parables.
The parables feature real-world characters that people in his audience could relate to. He often talked about farmers, landlords, lawyers, mid-level managers, religious leaders, widows and so forth. These stories often asked questions and made people think about how they lived their personal lives. Many of you are familiar with A Personal Story, TLC’s trilogy of A Dating Story, A Wedding Story and A Baby Story . Over the next five weeks, you will be introduced to A Jesus Story as we examine several parables from the New Testament.