But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins[a] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
It seems that life seldom gets more hectic than around the holidays. Between parties, gift exchanges, shopping, bargain hunting, visiting relatives, and special events, it seems there is little time to catch one’s breath, let alone rest or reflect. I have gone through seasons in my life during which it seemed the activities would never end – seasons during which I have longed for rest, silence, and time to be alone with God. Sometimes those seasons have been exciting and invigorating, where my daily “to do” list, though extremely long, was a welcome challenge. Other times those seasons have produced fear, anxiety, and physical distress. The longer I walk with the Lord, however, the more I see how my life should be ordered.
Every life experiences both seasons of high activity and seasons of low activity. Simply because the individual is busy doesn’t mean the life they lead is a full one.
Ephesians 2:10 is one of my favorite verses in the New Testament. It reminds me that the God who has orchestrated history also orders my steps. I am so important to him and so integral to his plan, that he has hand-picked the work I am to accomplish during my time here on earth. Knowing God as I do, I know that the works he has chosen for me will not always be fun or comfortable. But I do know that he does nothing apart from his character. So whatever He has chosen for me will be good and quite beyond my ability to do without depending upon him.
It is my life’s joy to discover one by one, moment by moment, those works that God has ordained for me. My roles as wife, mother, writer, small group leader, editor, friend, and neighbor mandate my doing anything from preparing a meal,to researching a story, to sitting in on a product consultation, to mopping a floor, to teaching the basic principles of blogging, to picking up trash, or bandaging a skinned knee. In the past, I have mistaken a day full of mundane, routine tasks to be a wasted one. I have condemned days during which I accomplished none of the tasks I had planned.
But over and over the Holy Spirit has reminded me that His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. Days where I have congratulated myself for all the things I was able to cross off my list, in reality could have likely been days that I missed every single assignment God had for me. Days where I was so consumed with making the appointment that I hurried past the homeless man, begging for change, or ignored the woman weeping in the bank.
In church one Sunday, a guest pastor told of an experiment conducted at a seminary in the recent past. He explained that a group of seminary students were instructed to go to one side of the campus to be interviewed and to prepare to give a sermon on Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, after which they would travel across campus to another building to deliver their sermon. What the students did not know was that between the first destination and the second, lay an actor who had been hired to portray a mugging victim. Needless to say, the point of the experiment would be to see how many students would stop to help.
As they finished their interviews some students were told that they’d finished early and had a little more time to get to their second destination. Other students were told that the interview had run over and they had better hurry if they were going to be on time. Every single student en route to give their sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan encountered the actor. However out of the group that was “running late” a whopping 63% of them literally stepped over the “mugging victim.” Yet nearly all of the students in their interviews when asked why they had come to seminary had answered, “To help people.”
Think about that. Each student had come from an interview and preparation session on the Good Samaritan. Each was on his/her way to give a sermon on the very topic. Yet more than half who were in a rush, refused to stop to help what they perceived to be an injured man.
This lesson is not only good for the Christmas season but for every season in our lives. Brothers and sisters, let’s not get so caught up with the busy-ness of our lives, that we neglect the fullness we find in Christ. Remember, whatever we do for the “least of these” we do to Jesus himself. We cannot help those in need around us if we’re too busy with our own agendas to even see them. Enjoy our holiday but remember whom you serve and why he came.
Be blessed, Family!
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