“A Priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan are walking down the street.” Sounds like the beginning of a joke. But instead it’s the beginning of an extremely important life lesson that is as applicable today as it was in Jesus’ time. From this story, I learn three things:
1. Jesus came to eradicate prejudices. You see, the Jews despised the Samaritans. They were considered unclean. They were avoided at all cost. So when Jesus made a Samaritan the hero of His story, it challenged the religious establishment at its very core. It challenged their preconceived (prejudice) idea that any one group of people were inherently evil or inherently good. Perhaps if Jesus was telling this story today, in some circles it would begin with, “A pastor, a prophet, and a Democrat…”
2. Titles do not define who we are. Too often we seek titles to define us. The priest, the Levite had the title of keepers of the law. But when the rubber met the road, neither represented the heart of God. Neither truly followed the Jewish law of loving your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18) But the Samaritan demonstrated God’s heart. If you feel as if God has called you to be a Pastor, then behave like a Pastor. Shepherd, love, and care for the people in your sphere of influence. If you are an evangelist, evangelize, a Prophet, prophesy. Stop waiting for others to validate you, and do what God had called you to do.
3. We are all called to be a neighbor. We are all called to love beyond our borders, beyond our comfort zone, beyond our political or denominational preferences. We are called to love the outcast, the Samaritan, the Democrat, the Republican, Hillary supporters and Trump supporters. We are called to love in word AND in our deeds. We are called to take care of the poor, the widow, the fatherless, the alien. Let us not ask who is my neighbor, our question should be, “Am I being a good neighbor today?”
“Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The expert in religious law said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” So Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.””
Luke 10:36-37 NET