Devotion for Tuesday, June 16
"The man answered, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind. And, Love your neighbor as yourself'."
The parable of the Good Samaritan is one that is familiar to a lot of people. For anyone who is not familiar, here is the short version. A man who was traveling, was attacked, beaten and left half dead beside the road. Next, a priest came by, saw him and crossed to the other side of the road to be away from him. Followed a little later by a temple assistant, who was curious and looked at the man, and then also crossed to the other side of the road. Finally, the Samaritan, who was "despised", came along, saw the man and took good care of him. The question being answered by Jesus was "Who is my neighbor?" The short answer is: Everyone.
The Samaritan people were not well liked by the other people in the area. Everyone "despised" them. Other words and phrases for "despised" are: contempt, disdain, loathe, intense aversion, abhor, extreme repugnance and detest utterly. These words and phrases emphasize how deeply the people around the Samaritans felt about them. Another way to think about this is to consider that even though the people around the Samarians felt this way about them, they obviously never took the time to get to know any of them. This Samaritan, according to Scripture, was actually a much better neighbor to the half dead man than the religious people who should have been good neighbors. This Samaritan took good care of a person who might turn around and still despise him!
Time and time again, there are people in this world who just look at someone and decide to despise them. They never take the time to get to know someone. It is impossible to get to know people in just a few seconds or minutes. It requires time and effort. It requires getting out of your own little comfort zone and having encounters with people of various backgrounds. It becomes a joy to learn how much all people have in common through the wonderful and various ways that we all celebrate life.
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, You created all life. Every one of us is precious to you. Help us to value each other through interactions that will promote, in all of us, the example of the Good Samaritan so that we too may be good neighbors to everyone whom we encounter. Amen.
Christ Servant Minister