By Leow Yew Chong
One of the most famous parables of our Lord Jesus is the parable of the good Samaritan. It has integrated itself into the English language. The Good Samaritan denotes a charitable or helpful person (Luke 10:25-37). The word “Samaritan” is also used by organizations in the UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong among others which counsel and provide emotional support to the suicidal and those in distress, mainly through a telephone service. This parable has been the inspiration of many paintings, sculptures, songs, movies and animation over the last 2,000 years. Modern day movies where the hero saves unknown strangers or communities draw their inspiration from this parable.
When this parable was taught, the context was in relation to the question “who is my neighbour?” Our Lord Jesus used four characters of which one was an “outsider” who the Jews have no dealing with (John 4:9b). The parable begins with a man traveling down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by thieves who left him wounded and half dead. Then we read of the priest and Levite who passed by the man. This man was probably a fellow Jew to the priest and Levite, but both passed onto the other side.
Then came the Samaritan who saw the man, had compassion on him, bandaged the man and took him to an inn where the Samaritan told the innkeeper to take care of the wounded man with all accompanying expenses to be on his account. Hence, when the lawyer was asked by Jesus who was the neighbour to the man, the lawyer answered, “He who showed mercy on him.”
What other lessons can we learn from this parable besides being a good neighbour? I am suggesting three for our consideration.
Firstly, doing good does not take place at a convenient time. Most time it occurs when we are busy with our own things and work. Notice how that the Samaritan, priest and Levite were leaving Jerusalem on a road that was probably dangerous for any delay. Therefore it’s highly inconvenient nor safe to delay the journey. And so it is with many of us. To do good or to help the orphans and widows at their hour of need (Jas 1:27) requires a sacrifice on our part.
Secondly, being a good neighbour requires colourblindness on our part. Despite the Jews and Samaritans having no dealings with each other, the Samaritan in this parable was full of compassion and mercy to a fellow human irrespective of creed and race. One of the ways for us to love as God wants us to love, is to remember that from one, all mankind came about. Our blood can be used to save the white, black, yellow, chocolate and pink. From one, all mankind will be saved.
Thirdly, being a Good Samaritan involves follow-up. Jesus specifically mentioned that the Samaritan told the innkeeper that he will pay all the expenses for the healing of the wounded man till the Samaritan returns. Often, when we do good or carry out a benevolent work, we stop at the junction of leaving “the wounded man and two denarii with the innkeeper”. Beyond that is no longer our business nor our duty. How much of our evangelistic work has been successful when all that we do is to invite our friends to the church and leaving them to others for the follow-up work?
Can we be a Good Samaritan and neighbour? Yes, we can and we must, for we are called to love and be perfect as our Father is love, good and perfect.
May I suggest some ways for us to start being a good neighbour? When we take a drink at the church pantry, wash up our own cups. Don’t leave them for others to wash. If we find unwashed cups in the sink, wash them up.
When we see that the ground is full of leaves, let us clear the driveway of them instead of leaving it to bro Yeow Kong to do the job.
When visitors come to worship with us and need a seat, let’s give our favourite seat to them. Most of them may not be familiar with hymns and are lost in following the lyrics. Point out where we are singing so that they can follow the lyrics. Show them the scriptures which are mentioned by the preacher.
May the Lord bless each of us as we endeavour to be a good neighbour.