The Good Samaritan


The Good samaritan


It is likely that we are very familiar with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. For many preachers and teachers, it is an essential go-to story to share when teaching about the life and ministry of Christ. Not only is it popular in the Christian community but even in the local media. At least in the U.S., we’ve developed Good Samaritan laws that protect people who act on behalf of others in good faith. I recall about a month or two ago hearing about a local ‘good samaritan’ who helped an unconscious person out a burning vehicle. We like to be the hero in the story.

It is common to read a parable, such as the one in Luke 10, and try to see ourselves somewhere in the teaching. We hope that we are unlike the priest and the Levite and pray that we would extend the hand of help to those who are in need.

I recently heard an anecdotal retelling of a survey that was done of 100 people in both the U.S. and Africa regarding the Good Samaritan parable. In response to the question, “where do you see yourself in this story?” many of the U.S. people said they identified most with the Good Samaritan, while the majority of the folks in the African context identified more with the man who was beaten.

Are we surprised? It doesn’t take a long scroll on social media to be confronted with our own savior complex in the West.

But what if we are not called to be the Good Samaritan at all?

In a recent book I read, I was challenged by a theologian's take on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. He wrote, “What if Jesus was the Samaritan? And the role of the follower of Christ was that of the innkeeper?”

What would it look like if we challenged our own savior complex and embraced our call to be stewards of creation, which includes others?

There is much already written on the subject of short-term helps, on being seen as the person who does the charitable works of helping, but what about the unpopular notion that we are called to be stewards? It’s not nearly as sexy, but what if this is what faithfulness looks like?

The young adults ministry I serve in recently wrapped up a series on stewardship. While most folks initially think of money (and we talked about that, no doubt) we also talked about the steady ministry that is stewardship. I am reminded again of Eugene Peterson's "A Long Obedience In The Same Direction."

What does it look like for us to be the stewards of the broken until Christ, the Good Samaritan, returns in glory? What if instead of being a traveling Samaritan we are rooted and planted in our community, willing to minister to the broken, hurt, and needy who are brought to our doorstep?

What is your take on the Parable of the Good Samaritan? Share your thoughts in the comments below!