Monday, May 2, 2011

Show Mercy, Like A Good Neighbor

Several years ago, there was an ad campaign for the insurance company, State Farm, which stated: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”  If you remember the commercials, you’re likely singing the song in your mind.  It was a catchy tune that sticks with you.  But, even more than a catchy slogan and song, the thought of being a good neighbor is a Biblical principle that should never be forgotten. 

We likely all grew up hearing the Bible lesson of “The Good Samaritan,” which is more appropriately termed “The Good Neighbor” (Luke 10:30-37).  The Biblical principle brought forth in this great lesson from our Lord Jesus Christ is one that has been handed down and has taught many through this world that we should truly be merciful to those around us.

After the seeing “the victim,” three passersby made their choice “to help” or “not to help.”  The first two pass by “on the other side” (Luke 10:31, 32).  Much has been said and written about “why” they did not help this man who had fallen victim to the thieves, but the truth is that we do not know why they chose not to help him.  One thing we know for sure from the lesson is that if they would have seen him as “a neighbor,” they would have gone out of their way “show mercy on him” (Luke 10:37).

While the Samaritan did everything for this stranger that he possibly could, used every means available to him to take care of his needs, and while obviously a busy man still even provided for future needs that could arise, ultimately, “he saw him” and “he had compassion on him” (Luke 10:33).  While the other two wasted much effort to not even look at this man who had fallen victim, the neighbor immediately saw a need and responded to him. 

Also, whether we would get involved or not, this will show others whom we represent.  Ask yourself, “What would I do for myself that this neighbor didn’t do for this stranger?”  It is clear that our response to our neighbor gives opportunity for others to “glorify our Father who is in Heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

This parable was taught in response to a tempting question to Jesus about what it truly means to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).  Attempting to justify himself, the lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). 

May we consider the spiritual needs of others, also, and not just the physical needs that must be met by those who might be seen as “neighbors.”  The world’s hospitals have been built upon the very principle of the Good Samaritan, and if we will build upon this principle, we can help remove racial prejudices, national hatred, etc. and truly be able to evangelize “all the world.”  There’s no doubt that the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) is directly connected to the Great Compassion as seen by the Samaritan.  We will truly be blessed in the work of God, if we will exhibit this type of mercy shown to our neighbors in both their physical needs and especially their spiritual needs. 
~Wayne Rodgers