“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” Luke 10:36
Temptation is all around us. The curriculum that I’m working through with my group of middle school students compared the temptation of being selfish to a ninja. I’m pretty sure that is one of the best ways to describe it.
Ninjas are sneaky. You don’t see them coming. They wait for just the right moment to attack, when you least expect it.
The same goes with being selfish. We don’t wake up in the morning and step out of bed and think, “I feel like being selfish today.” We have moments where we, in a split second, make the decision to be selfish.
For example…my wife and I were walking down the streets of downtown Chicago after enjoying pizza at our favorite pizza place. We had only ate half of our pizza and so I was carrying the other half of our pizza in a box. Out of no where a homeless man approached me and asked if he could have our leftovers. It was a mixture of being shocked that someone asked for my leftovers and not wanting to give them up that I responded, “Sorry man we’re taking it home to our kids.”
Yep, I lied. Bold face lied to the guy. I did whatever I could to get out of the uncomfortable situation that I was in.
A little bit later when we arrived at the train station there were a few guys begging and I approached them and gave them the box of our pizza. This time my offering to them was out of guilt rather than obedience.
How many times have you done something similar?
God calls us to help each other out. Luke 10:25-37 is one of my favorite parables that Jesus tells. It is a model for how we are to be selfless and loving.
It is so much easier for us to ignore the people that our asking for our help. To look the other way or pretend that we are messing with our cell phone as we walk by them. Sometimes we make up excuses “Oh, I’m too busy to help” when we haven’t checked our schedule.
My wife and I have been insanely blessed lately by people that live out this parable. We have been given so much baby stuff that we have barely had to buy anything at all for our daughter who is due early June. Now that I’m on the other end and receiving the benefits of people living this out; it makes me want to do the same. Several times the past few months I’ve given away more clothes that just sit folded up in my dresser that I can’t remember the last time I wore them. I’ve given away clothes that no longer fit.
We talk a lot in churches about giving our money to church, but I am convinced that God not only wants us to tithe our paycheck, but also our schedule. To set aside time to help at church, help at a local food pantry or to pass out meals to needy people.
So find ways to help those around you! Use your talents! If you are a handyman…seek people out who need your help. If you are strong…seek people out who are moving. Make yourself available for God to use you!