Bible Society of South Africa

People are part of God’s plan: A Samaritan’s heart – 20 May 2022

By Carina Francke

Bible text(s)

27The man answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ ”

Luke 10:27GNBOpen in Bible reader

The above-mentioned Scripture is an expert of the (Jewish) law’s answer to his own question to Jesus with regards to what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus confirms that he answered correctly and adds, “Do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:28) But then the expert asks Jesus a question that even in our day and age is still being asked: “Who is my neighbour?

A practical, modern, contextualised answer to this question, might be what I experienced in our neighbourhood recently. Once a week, early in the morning, shortly after most people leave for work, a few entrepreneurial rubbish sorters, fish out glass, paper and plastic from dustbins to generate an income. Food leftovers in the bin also find their way into a used bag … for later. Maybe. If it is still edible.

This week though, it was different. When we passed and greeted with a nod, every dustbin entrepreneur was nibbling on hot, freshly baked bread. Samaritan love (mercifulness) became visible in a practical way through the giving hands of caring people.

Still in our 2022 context. Recently, I received a photo of twelve happy, smiling children (without masks) on my cell phone. With them on the photo were two benefactors (dentists), as well as three theatre personnel. These children are from underprivileged areas and grow up in extremely poor and difficult circumstances. The orthodontic defects, a crooked jaw, bad and malformed teeth were rectified free of charge by two dentists and their theatre personnel.

Today’s Scripture refers to an incident where three people had the opportunity of bestowing compassionate love (mercy) on a victim of crime. Two of the passers-by, a Levite (an expert in the Law), and a priest (religious leader), turned a blind eye, and did not lift a finger to assist the victim. The third man, though a Samaritan, did all he could, to assist the assaulted, naked and bloody man. In a very practical way, he demonstrated how you and I can become someone’s neighbour. On his journey, he came to the place where the victim was and when he saw him, he had compassion. So, he went to him, poured oil and wine on the wounds, and bandaged them. He set the man on his own animal, brought him to an inn and took care of him. He also paid the innkeeper up front to look after the man. (Luke 10:33-35)

To me, it sounds like someone who bestowed mercy from his heart, soul, and mind. But at the same time, he was intensely aware that without love for God, all merciful deeds are but in vain. Your neighbour is the individual(s) in need that crosses your path and to whom you show compassion and mercy. But take note -– compassion is not a mere feeling, but in its essence, it thunders “Love! Action! Do!” with the same honest attitude as the Good Samaritan.

Prayer: Father, let my heart break for the things that break your heart. Thank you that you send Samaritan opportunities along my life’s path. But may I ask that you enable me to shamelessly share your love and mercy with other people. Amen

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