Daily Devotion for March 2, 2017

'The Good Samaritan'

Luke 10:25-37 NIV
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 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, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii 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.”

I felt led to read the “Good Samaritan” story this morning, and I loved the reminders the Lord had for me there. That is, Jesus reminded me that loving my God should INCLUDE and CAUSE me to “love” my “neighbor as” myself. Moreover, Jesus reminded me that it's not about “who is my neighbor;” rather, it's about me being “a neighbor to” whomever He has me come across. Just like that Samaritan, I'm not to ask whether the needy person is worthy of my help, nor am I to wonder if they'll waste my help: I'm just supposed to have “mercy” and do what I can do—with the resources, abilities, money, and time the Lord has so generously given me. I needed that reminder...

Folks, it's been a BIG, exhausting week for me—for the last few days, the Lord has placed a lot of “neighbor” opportunities before me. I'd love to say that each time “a neighbor” opportunity presented itself, I immediately responded like the “Samaritan,” but the truth is, I didn't. Each time, I had to wrestle with my “priest” and “Levite” tendencies. Each time, it took prayer, Word reminders and Spirit prompting for me to allow the Lord to use me...and to let Him use the resources, abilities, money, and time He's given me. My struggle this week (combined with reading the Samaritan story) has left me happy but convicted: I'm happy because I know I have rightly responded this week, but I'm convicted because I know I have often “justified” and just “passed by”...

Heavenly Father, I ask Your forgiveness for the many times I've “justified” not becoming involved in “a neighbor” opportunity You send my way. Help me increasingly recognize Your “neighbor” opportunities for me, and help me CHOOSE to be “a neighbor”...because that's what loving You “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” is all about. Moreover, I ask that all of us Believers be more like that “Samaritan;” That is, help us “Go and do” mercy, BEING neighbors to the needy You have us encounter. May we increasingly be a people who have compassion, “mercy” and “love” on those who need Your help—for Your glory! We ask this in Your Son's name...because He said, “Go and do likewise!”

AMEN!!!

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