But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, ~Luke 10:33
One of the more-beloved and favorite family syndicated programs that used to be on public broadcasting was “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” He had a favorite song that he sang, entitled “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” We think of a neighbor as being the person that lives next door to us. The word used by Jesus means any person we meet by chance. It is anyone God places across our path whom we have the opportunity to demonstrate compassion, help, mercy, and pity towards. Jesus describes to us the essence of neighborly compassion.
We see the motion.
A man making a journey from Jerusalem to Jericho was physically assaulted, robbed, wounded, and left to die by thieves. A priest and a Levite, on separate journeys, saw this man lying on the road. Instead of stopping to help the man, they passed over on the other side of this man. A Samaritan on a journey on the same road came to where this man was and had compassion on him. This Samaritan man went to him. Neighborly compassion is moved to action. It does not think about risk, race, religion, or ruin. It thinks about the person who is in need and is moved instantaneously to action. It is caring, compelled, and committed.
We see the ministering.
This Samaritan cared for the man, administered first aid, carried him, paid for his lodging, and promised to repay whatever costs were associated with the man’s recovery. Real compassion will cost us. Real compassion will involve us. Real compassion takes up a lot of time. Real compassion is extreme. It is real ministry put to the test when the unexpected is placed before us. Real compassion gives bountifully to the person in need. It sees a person who is near death and serves this person so they can go from death to life. It serves, sacrifices, and is selfless.
We see the mercy.
Jesus asked a Pharisee, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” The Pharisee answered, “He that shewed mercy on him.” Compassion is your hurt in my heart. Compassion is the exercise of mercy on someone who has a serious need. Compassion is having pity on one whom others might ignore. Jesus used this story to drive home to this Pharisee the definition of a neighbor. It loves my neighbor with the same care that would take care of me. This Samaritan did for this man in need what he would have done for himself.
We see the mandate.
Jesus told the Pharisee, “Go, and do thou likewise.” Compassion is being involved. Compassion is exercised even when it is an interruption. Compassion is investing in the best interest of the one we are helping. Compassion is doing whatever it takes to bring a person half dead to the place where he has a life. It is standing between the dead and the living. It is going to the extreme in bringing a sinner to Jesus. We are commanded to practice compassion just like this Samaritan did.
Neighborly compassion is needed in this age of indifference, non-involvement, and unconcern. Will you be my neighbor?
Have a compassionate God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Acts 27-28