by Bruce Strom
I grew up in Sunday School and I always thought of Luke 10’s Good Samaritan Story as a nice kids story. Man was I wrong. Let me share three quick insights that forever changed my view of the Good Samaritan.
1. The challenge. As a kid I glossed over the lawyer’s question to Jesus – “What must I do to inherit eternal life” (Lk 10:25). That was a mistake. Jesus was telling a business leader of his day that it wasn’t enough to just be religious. Rather true religion required looking after people in distress and not letting business or busyness prevent you from getting involved (see Jms. 1:27).
Jesus answered the question first by revealing his heart of love in action. The great commandments to love God and neighbor and then by defining our neighbor as someone in need of that love.
2. The characters. As a lawyer and business owner I thought I wrote a check to the church so the pastor could do the work of the gospel. Man was I wrong. Jesus made it clear that there is no separation between sacred and secular. Business makes a difference. The Samaritan did.
Jesus used the church people of the day – a priest and a Levite – and they were so busy and occupied that they missed the opportunity to love their neighbor. But the Samaritan stopped. He was busy too. He was far from Samaria, probably a traveling merchant. He had a laden donkey and things to do. But he could not just pass by someone in need. He stopped. Jesus audience hated Samaritans and sometimes business people aren’t appreciated either. But then, and now, these leaders take the opportunity to stop and serve. The Samaritan knew good would come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. (Ps. 112:5).
3. The call to action. While the church leaders missed an opportunity the business Samaritan did not. I like what he did. He rolled up his sleeves, got down in the dirt, and made sure the victim of injustice was served. But he didn’t do it alone. He went to an inn. He took advantage of an existing mechanism to make certain the man was restored so he could be healthy and independent again. His was much more than a donation. He got involved with an existing structure, involved the innkeeper, and did what was needed to get the man back on his feet – not make the man dependent on continuing support. That’s good business.
Jesus praised the actions of the Samaritan and told the lawyer business leader to go and do likewise.
Today, the United States of America is tied with Pakistan at 65th in the world for providing affordable access to our justice system. We should not tie with Pakistan in anything, certainly not in our pledge of ‘justice for all’. It’s wrong. Neighbors are missing work because of dragged out court battles. Single moms are losing support. Veterans are not receiving benefits. People lose housing and hope. They lie on America’s Jericho road as people pass them by mistakingly believing that the government or someone else will help. It is our opportunity and responsibility to stop and serve.
Business Owners have been entrusted with much and to whom much is given, much is required (Lk. 12:48). What an opportunity to reflect our faith in a meaningful way by serving the legal and spiritual needs of our neighbors. Gospel Justice Initiative is the Inn. We can help you establish a place in your business, church or community where a team of people can come alongside our neighbors crushed by legal burdens and see them freed so they can flourish. This is getting in the dirt to make a difference. This is not ongoing charity but one-time establishing or launching of a legal ministry that becomes self-sustaining. That is good business. That is being a Good Business Samaritan.
This is no kid’s story. This is the gospel at work freeing people from legal injustices as we listen to Jesus and
Go and Do Likewise.