A scholar of the law said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” — Luke 10: 29-37 NAB
The parable of the good Samaritan is probably one of Jesus’ most popular parables. But aside from telling us who our neighbors are (clue: the one who treated the robbed man with mercy), I want to reflect on how to become a good Samaritan.
How do you become a good Samaritan?
Be Moved with Compassion
“But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.”
I’m pretty sure that many of us are already moved with compassion whenever we see victims of typhoons or other natural calamities. Many of us jump right away to help others in any way we can!
Go Out of Your Way
It’s easy to help others when they are included in our schedules. Many of us schedule visits to orphanages, to places for the elderly, and to poor and remote communities.
But, will we still help others when they are not part of our schedule? When we are on our way to work? When all we want to do is go home to our families?
The good Samaritan was headed somewhere important. That's probably why he put the robbed man in the care of an innkeeper. Still, he went out of his way and took the time for the robbed man.
I’m also very guilty of not helping people when they are not part of my schedule. Let’s try to do better together.
Give Even When It is Uncomfortable (Warning: A Little Pain is Involved)
It’s also easy to give when we have a budget allotted for it. But, what if someone suddenly asked us for help which is beyond what we were supposed to give? Will we still help?
Don’t get me wrong. I really believe in giving yourself the gift of limits and giving only what your means allow you to. You also have to take care of yourself in order to be able to give more. But, from time to time, let’s feel a little hurt or ache in our giving. Let’s make a little sacrifice and give more than we were supposed to give.
Giving feels better and more genuine that way. Also, it just feels right to shake things up from time to time to see whether we are still giving for the right reasons. Giving more than what is required or more than your budgeted amount is one way to do so.
I think it is also the best personal test we can do to see whether we are still giving from our hearts or not. Over time, when we budget our giving, it simply becomes a routine. The heart of giving may no longer be there.
Shake things up and give from the heart again!
How about you? How else do you think can we become good Samaritans?
Most importantly, don’t just learn how to become one. Be one!
Image: Cory Doctorow