In the movie “Castaway” with Tom Hanks, there’s a scene that shows us a perfect picture of loneliness. Tom’s character, Chuck, has been alone for so long that he starts talking to a volleyball. Crazy enough, he even names it! Wilson, an old weathered ball, quickly becomes his only “friend”. He talks to it…gets angry at it…laughs with it…he even imagines it talking back to him. The scene where he loses Wilson is a moving view of the effects isolation has on us. It’s not good! In fact, God tells us “it’s not good” (Genesis 2:18). We weren’t created to do life alone!
The wise man advises us in Ecclesiastes chapter 4 that, “two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
In Luke chapter 10, a religious expert asks Jesus a question about eternal life. Jesus responds by telling the story of The Good Samaritan. This is a great story about a person who found someone beaten, alone and in a ditch. He gladly pulled him out and befriended him.
Here are some things we can learn from the story of The Good Samaritan…
- We learn- to SEE others with eyes of COMPASSION.
The Good Samaritan saw the man and had compassion on him. How could he know what abuse felt like? Notice how the Bible refers to the Samaritan as “a despised Samaritan”. The Good Samaritan “felt compassion” because he knew what it felt like to be rejected! Going and doing is usually preceded by a feeling, and we are capable of feeling because of our experiences. The Good Samaritan felt and then did something about it!
- We learn- to meet people where they are.
The Good Samaritan went to where the man was. Verse 33 shows us that he was moved with compassion before he ever walked over to him. We all need a predisposition of compassion! You’ll never come over until you’re overcome with compassion. If you have an ounce of compassion, you’ll “go over” to where the hurting are and do something about it.
- We learn- to give people a way out.
The Good Samaritan gave him a way out! Verse 34 says that he “put the man on his own donkey”. We should always be giving “a way out” to people that we are trying to help succeed. When Jesus hung on the cross, He spoke from a place of pain and said, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.” He gave them a way out. Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times, yet you could still hear “the keys to the Kingdom” jingling in his pocket. Jesus knew that if there was ever a chance for Peter to survive, he would need friends and community. He couldn’t do life alone, and neither can we!
- We learn- to provide a safe place for others.
The Good Samaritan provided a safe place for him. Verse 34-35 says that The Good Samaritan “took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’”
A safe place is where other people and resources are brought into the picture on your behalf!
Helping make someone safe is making them stronger. People in the “ditch” of life need to view you as a safe place.
I challenge you to start looking at situations not as “what can I GET out of this”, but rather, “what can I GIVE to this?” I’ve discovered that so many times while helping a “ditch person” resolve their issues, I end up finding the answer to mine! Allow the Lord to use you as a “Good Samaritan” in someone else’s life, and watch as He begins to work — not only in their life, but in yours as well!