The Parable of the Good Samaritan. We all know it, right? (if not, find it here: Luke 10:25-37) Ever wonder if we might be villainizing the Priest and the Levite just a little too much? I mean, I’m most definitely not trying to belittle what the Samaritan did and what great character the Samaritan had – by any means.

Let me see if I can explain.
Let’s imagine the lives of a Priest. Didn’t he have numerous people counting on him daily? Didn’t he lead the sacrifices at the temple? And the Levite too, right? (Levites were the temple workers; see Leviticus 8.)
Does that sound like an irresponsible person? Does that sound like a mean person? Does that sound like a person who hates other people?
I didn’t think it does either. So let’s keep going with this logic...
What if the Priest was on his way to offer sacrifices...if he stopped to help, many people would be worried for him, inconvenienced by him – he would be irresponsible to his duties if he didn’t show, don’t you think? He couldn’t make a quick call on his cell phone to alert anyone could he?
The same with the Levite, right?
So, considering that Jesus blasts them and commends the Samaritan – I would think that should really get our attention about our “religious activities.” Are we so busy running helter-skelter between organized church activities that we leave ourselves no room to be a blessing to others?
Do we even see who needs help? It may seem good if we can see it...“For whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17). So the Priest and Levites sinned. But they also had others counting on them. They’d given their word to do the work of the Lord in the Temple. If they broke their promises, wouldn’t they still be sinning?
Between a rock and a hard place, aren’t we?
I don’t know about you, but that really gets my attention. Could I unintentionally sin by trying to keep my word? Could I unintentionally sin by stopping to help someone and not keeping my word?
Again, I can’t speak for you, but I can see my life needs to be lived a lot more carefully and intentionally.
What if I’m running to orchestra practice, choir practice, ensemble practice – all at church, then running to a church homeless ministry, a widows/orphans ministry, a women’s ministry....but leave those around me broken and beat up from loneliness, discouragement, addiction, depression, pornography, alcoholism...all they see me do is run past them. What must that feel like? (None of these ministries are, of course, bad in and of themselves, but when others start suffering because we do all of them rather than a couple...)
(Just as a side note, I know that there are times in our lives that are busier than others – especially when we have emergencies and family issues. But the difference I’m trying to focus on is, did we cause the busyness from faulty planning or are we the recipients of others’ sin and faulty planning or it this just the trials that we go through on earth for His Name’s sake?)
Perhaps a problem was that the Priest and Levite didn’t allow for any extra time on their way to where they were going. Do you plan for interruptions? Do you plan to be a blessing?
I know I don’t. Will you join me?
Will you join me in falling on my face before a righteous and holy God – begging to be painfully aware of the needs around me and flexible and willing and able to meet the needs that God has prepared for me to meet?

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

because Beauty is more than skin deep,
Emily

Comments (12)

On January 14, 2013 at 11:49 AM , MYSAVIOR said...

Our self-awareness is so hard. Somehow I do better worrying about others.

♥♥♥
Sue

 
On January 14, 2013 at 12:00 PM , sammysgrammy said...

Yay.......I got the first comment.
Wonderful reminder, Emily - that we need to always be alert and watching for those divine appointments that the Lord may schedule into our day.

Eyes open.............

Thank you for the "wake up" call. Well taken.

 
On January 14, 2013 at 12:23 PM , Cynthia Stevenson said...

Emily,
I enjoyed this post! We all fall short of helping others, just like the Priest and the Levite. And, this is something for which we must ask forgiveness. But, I think what we need to understand is that God can work through anyone...even those we despise or think "little" of, as we are limited, but our God isn't. He can use anyone to help His children. I never looked down on the Priest of the Levite, as I can see myself doing the exact same thing. In fact, I have passed-over folks that needed my help, because of the way they looked. Appearance, reputation and our personal experiences affect the way we treat others and the expectations(or lack of) that we have of others. So, like you, I fall upon my face in "openess" before the Lord, asking for forgiveness and an open heart for those that need me. I ask that He shine through me---less of me and more of Him. Blessings!

 
On January 14, 2013 at 1:00 PM , NellywithWings said...

Very well said. Thank you! May I go a bit further and encourage all of us to stop to acknowledge a need and fulfil it, EVEN when it's too late and we are guilty of poor planning, and late for something important? I have found daddy God's favour to bless me when I have dared to do this. He has proven to be beyond merciful, and I felt so happy afterwards.

 
On January 14, 2013 at 4:01 PM , bananaorangeapple said...

Great devotion

 
On January 14, 2013 at 6:11 PM , Niki Jackson said...

Thank you Emily this is very timely for me. Blessings Niki x

 
On January 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM , Cherished.Wife said...

I so agree, Sue.

Thank you, Grammy. I needed that reminder too, so I decided to share it.

Amen, Cynthia! (I LOVE my coasters!!!! They couldn't be more perfect!)

If God wants you to, it works out, Nelly. I've done the same before, being a little unsure about it though, and found out afterwards it worked out better for everyone involved!

Thank you, Hannah. I'm glad it touched you.

So glad God used me to speak to you, Niki. (I love your art!)

 
On January 14, 2013 at 10:00 PM , Meadowland Designs said...

In my family we call this concept leaving "margin" (or wiggle room)in our schedules so that when a need comes up my plan for my day can change into God's plan for my day. I can speak from experience & say that not only does it enable you to be a blessing to others in need, but through serving you yourself are blessed.

Honestly there are times when my day is absolutely crazy & when I look back over it all to see what I need to do differently, it usually involves slowing down & being more diligent in seeking His will in my plans.

Thank you for sharing this, isn't it amazing what we can discover in all the familar stories when we actually take the time to dig deeper?

~ Catherine

 
On January 14, 2013 at 11:45 PM , pfd said...

I like this because it is very thought provoking.

 
On January 15, 2013 at 11:23 AM , krafterskorner said...

Beautifully written! I try to slow down and notice those around me, but is hard in today's society. I'm sure I could improve. I definitely don't stop to pick up the homeless person on the street corner and take him to church with me which would kind of be our equivalent of passing by the man on the road.

 
On January 15, 2013 at 9:23 PM , Cherished.Wife said...

Good for you, Catherine! Thanks for inspiring me!

Thank you, pfd. I'm love to share what God has chosen to teach me.

Oh, it is so hard, Krystal! That's why God spoke to me about it I suppose. :)

 
On January 18, 2013 at 8:45 PM , Anonymous said...

That is so good. I've had this on my mind alot. I want to help, to be God's love to people, I've just always been either too scared or too busy. I want to stand up with you and say that prayer.

~ Celeste