“But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:29, AV)
The question posed above is an apt reminder that always within the communal sphere of the children of God are those in need. Most of us know the contextual elements that give the above verse so much meaning when it was posed by the young legal expert with the intent of confounding our Lord. His question, borne of ill intent, resulted in Christ’s telling of the story of the good Samaritan who, when those of the religious orders in the days of Jesus’ earthly sojourn failed to act, stepped in and manifested Christlike love toward one, who in the idiomatic flavor of the King James Version text, fell among thieves.
It is easy in the hour of this great global COVID-19 crisis to become insular and really not have much regards for anyone’s needs other than our own. Our community can become small, rooted in the legitimate task of self-survival, while ignoring the scriptural truth that our responsibilities extend beyond ourselves, encompassing all who are in need that lie along our pathway in life; not unlike the three men that walked the road where the poor soul who had been ravaged by thieves lay. We can’t do what the priest and Samaritan did and just curry along past the point of the waylaid man’s need, obliviously carrying on with business as usual. No, we ought to imitate the spirit of the good Samaritan and interrupt our routine to act with sensitivity to the needs of those who cannot help themselves.
In this trying time, as I give my last musing on community this week, I’m challenging all of us, including myself, to think of others. And then, I’m challenging us to move beyond thought to action. True discipleship is about doing! Note the following words of Paul: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10, AV). This crisis brings with it a great opportunity for the Church of Jesus Christ to shine in what can be its finest hour and for each of us, as individual saints, to shine forth the love of our Savior. What are we going to do about it? Who can and will we touch and help this weekend beyond our own home and family? What about next week and for the duration of this crisis? Can we work on helping others and not just ourselves and those of our familial circle only? It won’t happen without intentionality and the willingness, like the good Samaritan, to be inconvenienced and go out of our way.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.