A man walks down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. As he was walking robbers came up to him, beat him up and left him on the side of the road half dead. A Jewish Priest and a Levite walk by him and kind of stare at him. Finally, a Samaritan sees him, and has compassion on him. Helping this beaten man onto the Samaritan’s animal, he also pays for the care and attention this man needs.
We all are well aware of this parable of Jesus. When we look at the three fellows who walk by the strain ourselves to try to understand how the Priest and Levite could just walk by and not help. We painstakingly try to wrap our minds around how a person can see another in need and just keep on moving. But… what if the parable stared with this: “A man was living in a small cave near Bathhouse Row. He became sick and was begging for money for needed medications”… Would you and I look at him differently now. Would we see him, wag our heads and mumble something about beggars and bums? We often put our uncompassionate feeling in the category of how people misuse money and how I cannot care for the whole world. We do that so we feel better about our decision to care for no one, and that is fundamentally our problem.
We may say, “ Well, I did not know what he needed.” That is true. That is true because we never ask. We never ask because we really do not want to know. We really do not want to know because we do not want to help. We do not want to help because we are not moved by the plight of those around us. When you and I look through eyes of compassion we see needs EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME! When we see the world groping and needy, it will break our hearts. The real question is: Will we look up to see the world as it passes by us?
The fact of the matter is we will all be judged by God like the Samaritan. The benchmark of this parable is that this man did what he could to help another person who was in the most needy time of his life. The Samaritan did what he could. The idea of doing what we can is the benchmark.
Let’s look to find a place to help in this world!