Pastor David Anderson shares the prayer burdening him as the Spirit weighs in on his inequality of concern for others:
Dear Lord, please forgive me for my insensitivities toward the hurting and the downtrodden. Please forgive me for acting like the priest and Levit more often than the Samaritan. Help me to be more gracist in my life, more concerned. Father, I thank you for your grace, mercy and compassion on me. Thank you for not leaving me on the side of the road. Help me to extend that kind of love to more people in my world. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
How often have you and I needed this kind of prompting from the Spirit to become more like the Samaritan than the priest? Probably many as we have been selective in our inclusion and broad in our exclusion. Anderson continues his exposition of 1 Corinthians 12, in this chapter focusing on the verse emphasizing our need to be inclusive in our concern for others.
God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
Pastor David uses the story of the good Samaritan to frame three acts of gracism that we can integrate into our lives as a part of becoming more inclusive of those we might normally be tempted to push to the side or even ignore. First, the Samaritan had a merciful heart as he showed pity to the down man. When he moved him to a place of safety so that he could heal his wounds he demonstrated a shepherding heart. Finally, his generous heart was shown when he invested in the man’s care in order to restore him to his place in community. Anderson points out that we are not looking at spiritual gifts; we are viewing a heart that has aligned with Jesus, transformed and moved to put others under their care and concern. The Samaritan shows us the way to be gracious.
We aspire (or should) to be more Samaritan in our actions but we hesitate to cross over to the other side of the street to help bring those in need back to our side. Often, we see sin in lives on the other side of the street and justify our actions by saying that we are avoiding becoming embroiled in their sin. Doesn’t that make us sinners as well? For God so loved the world…not just the clean, sober, pure….