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(Mark 10:21-37) When Caring Comes First

(Mark 10:21-37) When Caring Comes First

by Stephen Davey
Series: Sermons in Mark
Ref: Mark 10:21–37

For the believer in Christ love is not optional. Jesus even said that all men will know we are His Disciples by how much we love . . . not by how much we know. So let's join Stephen in this message as he shows us what that love looks like.




(Mark 10:21-37)


We studied, last Sunday when we met, what a disciple is all about.  We discovered, from the passage of scripture, that being a disciple means that we are willing, we are abandoned, and we are bold.  Jesus Christ had sent out 70 disciples and He paired them two by two.  And they came back all excited.  You remember the story last week?  They came back declaring to Jesus all the things that they had done and the things that they had taught.  And Jesus, kind of, rebukes them in a silent and, in fact, very loving rebuke.  And He says, “Don’t rejoice about all the things that you are doing.  Instead, rejoice that your names are written in the book of life.”

Now, Mark stops and goes from there to another story and Luke fills in what happened next.  And that’s why we’re in the Gospel of Luke this morning.  Look at what he said in verse 21, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit”.  It’s interesting that, on three occasions, we read that Jesus wept.  This is the only time that we read that Jesus rejoiced.  Not meaning, necessarily, that He wept more than He rejoiced.  But, this occasion was so significant in His rejoicing that the gospel writers included it.  He was rejoicing over what?  The fact that people had their name written in the book of life.

Look at what He says, “I thank Thee,” - verse 21 - “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent,” - you need to underline those two words that will help open up this parable.  This context is very crucial in understanding the parable.  “Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babies: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight.  All things are delivered to Me of My Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and He to whom the Son will reveal Him.”  And, at that moment in time, some lawyer stands up and he’s very troubled.  And I think he is troubled and I think he asks the question to Jesus Christ because Jesus had just said a couple of things that bothered him.  First of all, Jesus had tied in eternal life with knowledge of Himself.  And a lawyer, a scribe, a Pharisee declared that eternal life is tied to the law.  And these men had the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, memorized.  They knew all of the law.  And it bothered him, I think, that Jesus said, “You need to know the Son if you want to know that your name is written in the book of life.”  And, I think, that probably bothered him.

But, I think, another thing bothered him.  The fact that Jesus said, “All of these things are hidden from the wise and the prudent.”  If there is a wise and prudent person in Jerusalem, it’s a lawyer, it’s a scribe, it’s a Pharisee.  And Jesus says, “You’ve hidden this truth from them and yet, You’ve revealed it unto babies, the Gentiles, the Jews who don’t have the law memorized.”  It seems that He is declaring the gospel of the kingdom has come to those who are outside of the realm of the wise and the prudent.

And so, he says, in verse 25, he -“stood up” - evidently they were all seated when Jesus was teaching - “and tempted Him”.  That word is very intense.  And the reason, I think, that the lawyer was bothered because, first of all, the manner in which he approached Jesus.  It says he, “tempted Him,” - he tested.  It could be translated, “he thoroughly interrogated Him.”  I don’t think the gospel writer gave us everything the lawyer asked Christ.  He just gave us, perhaps, the key question.  I think this lawyer put Jesus to the test.  Maybe he went on for a few minutes, declaring, with his oratorical ability, all the things that Jesus was saying that seemed contrary to the law.  Perhaps he was doing his best to back Jesus into the corner.  He thoroughly put Christ to the test.  And he also called Him, “Master,” or Teacher.  And I don’t think he recognized Him, of course, as Lord.  But then his motive, I think, is as well off in that he tested Jesus, I think, to trick Him and he asks a very difficult question.  He says, “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  Now, wouldn’t it be wonderful to study this passage of scripture and find, at the end of it, a lawyer coming to Christ?  He has asked a question that you and I must ask before we could ever know for sure that our names are written in the book of life.  What do we need to do to inherit the kingdom?

Notice what Jesus’ answer is.  He answers with a question.  “He said unto him, ‘What is written in the law?  How readest thou?’”  “How do you interpret what you read in the law?”  And it’s fascinating that this lawyer didn’t have to say, “Oh, excuse me just a second, let me go over and get the law.  Let’s see, Deuteronomy, Genesis, Exodus . . .”  He had it memorized because he immediately responds with, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.”  This lawyer quoted from the Shema.  That was what they said every day at the morning and the evening prayers and they said it on the sabbath.  The Shema was well known to all of the orthodox Jews.  And this man was orthodox.  He had it memorized.  He knew the answer.  The problem was that he asked this question without any personal concern.  And then, secondly, he answered the question without any personal commitment.  Because notice verse 28, Jesus - “said unto him,” - “You’ve answered well” - “this do, and thou shalt live.”  “You’ve given Me the correct answer.  You wanted to know how to have eternal life.”  You’ve asked the question, obviously without personal concern because of the manner and the motive in which he asked it.  And then He gives the right answer.  “You need to love God with all of your heart, your soul, your strength, and your mind.”  And Jesus says, “That’s right.  So you do that and you’ll live.”

But, I want you to notice, the lawyer adds another phrase from Leviticus, chapter 18.  He quoted from Deuteronomy 6 but now he adds another phrase.  He says, “and thy neighbor” - last part of verse 27 - “as thyself.”  He didn’t need to add that but he did.  He was covering everything.  You love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, AND you love your neighbor just like you love yourself.  This guy had crossed his t’s.  He had dotted his i’s perfectly.  He knew the score.  He knew exactly what it meant.  But, when Jesus urged him to a personal commitment, when He said, “this do, and thou shalt live.”  Notice verse 29, “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”  Oh, if only this lawyer would have stopped then and there and asked the question, “Lord, I know it says to love God with all of my heart, my mind, my soul, my strength but how, in the world, can you do that?  How, in the world, can I love my neighbor as myself?  In fact, when I look at my life, I find that I can’t.  How in the world?”  And then Jesus Christ could have said, “You can love God like that when you first learn to love Me.”  And we could have had a tremendous conversion here by a lawyer.  But instead of that kind of response, that lawyer was intimidated.  The lawyer knew that he did not love God with all of his heart.  He knew that he could not love his neighbor as himself.  And so, he sought to defend himself saying, “Well, you tell me who my neighbor is and then, maybe, I’ll see.”

So Jesus then tells a story.  Verse 30, “And Jesus answering said,”.  And I need to add, very lovingly.  He responds very lovingly.  He could have responded with “Look, that’s not what I asked you.  That’s not the question.  Don’t take Me down some rabbit trail.”  Jesus allowed him to and then adopted a story to meet the lawyer’s need.  Here’s what He said, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho”.  I think that’s about 18 miles and it’s a winding road that, literally, goes down at a very steep descent.  It was known as the “highway of robbers,” this highway.  And so, almost, you could assume that the next happened.  “And fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” - or they left him thinking he was dead.  And Jesus says, “And by chance” - He didn’t say, “And, wouldn’t you know, one of your priests comes by.”  No.  He says, in a very loving way, “And just suppose, just” - “by chance there came down a certain priest that way”.  I think most of us would have probably thrown a name in there.  He left it out.  “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.”  Three characters will emerge from this parable.  The first one is the priest.  And now, it’s easy to throw stones at these men and we’re certainly not going to do that.  But, we need to understand that this priest, perhaps, walked by on the other side because he knew that, as a priest, if he touched a dead body, he was ceremonially unclean for a least a week, seven days.  And so this priest comes by and it, evidently, implies that he is on the side of the road where the man, perhaps, is in the ditch.  And he sees him, perhaps thinking he’s dead, knowing that, “Wait a second, I’ve got to stick to ceremony here.  If I touch him, if I help him, I’m ceremonially unclean.  I can’t go to the temple for seven days.”  So he goes all the way over to the other side of the road, just in case anybody is looking.  And then he continues down the road.  You see, this man’s response was governed by the religious ceremony of his day.  God’s law had allowed for compassion.  And this man, a priest, had failed to evidence it.

And then notice the second person that emerges.  “And likewise a Levite,” - a non-priestly Levite - “when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.”  Now, it’s interesting, the Levite did a little more than the priest.  It’s says that he, “looked on him”.  Here he is walking down the same side of the road and he sees this man in the ditch and, instead of just shifting gears and getting into the other lane, he walks down into the ditch and he looks at him.  You know, maybe he takes a sandal and nudges a leg and says, “Yeah, the guy looks dead to me.  Should I help him or shouldn’t I?”  And I really think, perhaps, that Levite, kind of, stood there for a little bit, “What am I going to do?”  And then he looks this way and he looks this way, “Nobody would see if I left anyhow.”  And he gets back up on the road on the other side.  And some commentators think that these men continued on the other side of the road for quite a ways, just in case somebody asked them, “Did you see that guy in the ditch?”  “No, I was on the right hand side of the road.”  I don’t know what was in the minds of these men but ceremony controlled their response.  But I need to bring up something about the Levite that, I think, makes his response even more tragic.  There were three people in this economy that benefited from the welfare system that God had ordained, God had set up.  Every three years you gave a particular tithe and it supported the widow, the orphan, and the Levite.  Because a Levite didn’t have any inheritance in the land, he didn’t have any personal assets, he was a recipient of the compassion of Israel.  He lived, he fed his family because somebody was compassionate and gave to that system.  And here he was, a recipient of compassion, unable to evidence that same compassion to someone in need.

Then, Jesus goes on, He says, in verse 33, “But a certain Samaritan,” - uh-oh.  Now I can just see the crowd begin to murmur because the hatred for the Samaritans was excruciating.  To the orthodox Jew, a Samaritan was less than a dog.  And Jesus, in this response, comes up with, “Let’s see, who else can I think of coming by.  Oh, I know, I’ll get somebody that everybody in this crowd despises.”  “But a certain Samaritan, . . . came” - “by and looked on him.”  Now, let me give you five things.  And I don’t even think there is room in your notes.  But there were five things about the Samaritans that reveal to us the hatred of the Jew for them.  First of all, Jews publicly cursed them in the synagogue, they were hated so much.  Number two, Jews prayed that Samaritans wouldn’t have any part in the resurrection.  Now that’s wonderful, isn’t it?  “Lord, when you come, leave them out of it.”  You know, it’s like us praying, “Lord, when you come, if we’re living in the rapture, leave so and so out, leave them here.”  Number three, a Samaritan was never accepted as a proselyte to Judaism but Gentiles could be.  Here they are, you know, propagating the kingdom, “Oh, you’re a Samaritan.  Sorry, the gospel isn’t for you.”  Fourthly, eating the food of a Samaritan was equal to eating swine’s flesh.  You know what Jews thought about pork.  Number five, this one here just startled me.  I had to lean back in my chair and let my imagination run.  They said, “It is better to suffer than to accept the help of a Samaritan.”  It’s better to suffer than to accept the help of some Samaritan.  And I had to pull out the dictionary and just do a little research on Samaritans because some things had gotten fuzzy.  So I pulled it out and found out that way back whenever, the division began because the Samaritans were half-breeds and they lived in the northern kingdom and the orthodox Jews lived in the southern kingdom.  And a lot of this problem revolved around the north-south division.  I’d love to say a few things.  (laughter)  These Samaritans were Yankees, they were Yankee Jews.  Do you believe that?  Imagine.  Here you are, and, by the way, I hate to admit it but I’m a Yankee.  But I’m a southerner, now that I live here.  Imagine though, you’re hanging on the edge of a cliff, you know, you’re on a twig.  It’s about to break and you hear footsteps.  And here’s this guy comes to help you.  And before he reaches down, you say, “Wait!  Wait!  Where are you from?”  “I’m from Michigan.”  “Let me die.”  Boy, it’s tragic to think of these two men bypassing this individual because of their ceremony.  And yet, how wonderful to think that this kind of man helped.

I read some stories, this past week, in some books that I was perusing, and very tragic stories.  And you see them in the newspaper time and time again.  There was the story of a young man quietly riding the subway, minding his own business, and he was attacked by thugs who repeatedly stabbed him.  And eleven people just sat there and watched.  And I know, I think the same thing you do, I would have been scared to help, they’d have jumped me.  But that doesn’t answer the problem because, when the thugs left, they still observed him, just watched him lying in a pool of blood.  How can you explain a woman coming home to her apartment being attacked and, for thirty minutes, seventeen neighbors watching without ever calling on the telephone for a policeman.  How can you explain that a woman shopping, in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue, falls and breaks her leg, right in the busy time of day, and, not for two minutes or twenty minutes but, for forty minutes she cries for help.  And businessmen step over her, people walk around her, they’re walking their dogs down the sidewalk and they ignore her until, finally, a taxi driver pulls over and hauls her into the cab and takes her to the hospital.  How do you explain it?  Because, I think, there is a quality, in our country, that is becoming less and less visible.  And, I think, the quality is less and less visible in the New Testament church.  It is compassion, care.

And Jesus Christ says, “A certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him”.  Compassion comes from the little Greek word “splagchnon.”  It’s kind of a gross word.  It refers, literally, to the intestines.  This is a word that refers to gut feeling.  This isn’t sympathy.  This is empathy.  This isn’t saying, “Isn’t that tragic.  Robbers on the ‘highway of robbers.’  We need to do something in Jerusalem about all of these thieves,” and walk along.  This is somebody who goes down into the ditch and says, “Let me help.”  “Splagchnon.”  Now, this word is used in reference to Jesus Christ several times.  He had compassion on the multitude.  He had compassion on the blind man.  In fact, turn over to Psalm, chapter 145.  This is a quality that all of the Jews, Rabbis, religious leaders, knew was a quality of God’s character.  They had studied the writings of David, the Psalmist.  Psalm 145, verse 8, it says, “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion;” - the Septuagint is “splagchnon,” that same word - “slow to anger, and of great mercy.”  You see all of the religious rulers, they had it down pat.  They crossed everything just right.  They had the law memorized.  They knew exactly what they were doing and yet, they had no compassion.  And Jesus Christ says, “You know that this compassion is part of the heart of God.  I have, as the Son of God, evidenced this compassion in my ministry.  But guess who else has it?  A Samaritan.”  I John 3:17 says, “If you see a brother in need and you shut up your” - “bowels of compassion” - that gets back to the gut - “how dwelleth the love of God in” - “you?”

Notice what the Samaritan does, “And went to him,” - verse 34 - “and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine,” - it would be as a soothing, medicinal effect in the wine, perhaps as a disinfectant - “and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and” - then he dumped him off and said, “I’ve done my duty.”  No.  What does it say?   “And took care of him.” - at least through the night.  Verse 35, “And on the morrow” - or the next day - “when he departed, he took out two pence,” - or two denarii - “and gave them to the host”.  Now, a denarii, from what I’ve researched, would have taken, or one-twelfth of a denarii, would have taken care of one day’s lodging.  So he was taking care of twenty-four days of lodging.  He took care of this man’s hotel bill for an entire month.  And he says, “If there is any left over, if there are bills due, when I come back through this town, I’ll pay them.”  He says, “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more,” - than what I’ve given you - “when I come again, I will repay thee.”

Now, I want you to notice, very carefully, that Jesus Christ goes back to the question of this lawyer.  The lawyer said, “who is my neighbor?”  Now, carefully note what Jesus is going to do.  The lawyer says, “who is my neighbor?”  Jesus comes back and He restates it and, in effect, says, “Don’t ask who your neighbor is, ask to whom should you be a neighbor.”  Look at the question, verse 36, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?”  Isn’t that fascinating?  The question is not, “Who is worthy of my love?”  The question is not, “Who am I supposed to serve?”  The question is, “Am I serving?  Am I loving right now?  Who am I a neighbor to at this very moment?”

I think Jesus intended to teach several things but let me suggest two.  Number one, if you have your notes, you can jot these into them.  Number one, ceremonial or religious observances do not guarantee eternal life.  Ceremonial or religious observances do not guarantee eternal life.  Because the priest and the Levite were loaded with ceremony.  They had it down pat.  Ladies and gentlemen, if we translate that into the twentieth century, you and I need to understand that we will not gain eternal life by going through the baptistery.  We will not gain eternal life by going through the choir loft, by going through a perfect attendance in Sunday school, by going through the membership of a local church.  That isn’t it.  It’s do we love God, through the person of His Son, with our heart, with our soul, with our strength, and with our mind?

Number two, love for God is demonstrated by your compassion toward others.  Now, I know that, if you’re anything like me, we’d like to just kind of skirt this thing.  It sounds like you’re talking about works salvation.  I’m not.  But we cannot divorce from salvation the simple truth that it is evidenced, it is made clear, it is proven, by the fact that we love.  They know that they are disciples of Christ by the way that they love one another.  In fact, turn over to some very strong words in I John, chapter 3.  Everyone turn to I John, chapter 3, and I’m going to quickly read through several verses.  And you’ll come away with this same impression that loving is SO associated with Christianity, to say that, “I am a Christian,” without loving, is to prove that you are, in fact, not.  And many people claim to know the truth, but notice what he says in I John, chapter 3, verse 10, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.  For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”  Verse 14, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.  He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”  Verse 15, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”  Verse 16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  Verse 18, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”  Let me stop because here we’ve got the priest and the Levite.  Here we’ve got you and me.  We’re walking down the street and there is a guy in the gutter who has been beaten.  And we go over to him and say, “My friend, can I pray with you.  I want to pray that God will give you a special sense of His presence.  Let’s pray.  Amen.”  Or we go to the individual who is in pain and we say, “Did you know Romans 8:28 is in the Bible.  Let me quote it for you.  It’s wonderful.”  Whoever loves in word and in tongue and yet, not in deed.  “Can I bake something?  Can I cut the front yard?  Can I serve?  Can I baby-sit?  Can I put out chairs?  Can I do anything?”  That is proving love.  “And hereby” - verse 19 - “we know that we are of the truth,” - here’s how we know that we are abiding in the truth - “and shall assure our hearts before” - God.  Look at chapter 4, verse 16, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is love; and He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”  Pretty strong words.  Look at verse 20, “If a man say, ‘I love God,’ and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”  And I really believe that, in the mind of John as he penned these words, he was probably thinking of that parable and that lawyer.  It’s one thing to say that we love God but if we do not love our neighbor, we are thereby proving that we do not love God.  That’s the message.  And I think that’s what Jesus Christ intended to teach.

Let me give you an illustration of compassion.  Turn, if you would, to II Timothy.  Turn back just a couple of books, if you are still in I John to II Timothy, chapter 1.  I want to turn the spotlight on an individual, this morning, who we have never, perhaps ever, heard about.  In fact, I have a hard time pronouncing his name.  Onesiphorus, I  think I’ve got it right.  Let’s call him Russ, for short, so I don’t have to stumble all over my tongue.  Look at verse 16, “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft” - underline the word, “refreshed,” - “refreshed me,” - or whatever it may say in your translation - “and was not ashamed” - note that - “of my chain: but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently,” - underline that - “and found me.”  Here is a businessman from Ephesus and he is making a trip.  And, I think, the trip was specifically to visit Paul, who was in Rome in jail.  He goes to visit Paul and it indicates, here, that he diligently sought for him.  I’ve got to read to you something that one of the old prince of preachers wrote about Onesiphorus, Alexander White.  Listen to this.  “Paul might be the greatest of the apostles to Onesiphorus.  And he may be all that, and far more than all that, to you and to me.”  But note this, “He was only number so and so to the soldier who was chained night and day to Paul’s right hand.  You would not have known Paul from any other convict in our own penal settlements.  Paul was simply number 5, or number 50, or number 500, or any such number.  From one barrack prison, therefore, to another, he went about seeking for Paul.  Day after day.  Week after week.  Often insulted.  Often threatened.  Often ill-used.  Often arrested and detained until he was set free again.  Only after great suffering and great expense until, at last, his arms were around Paul.  And the two old men were kissing one another and weeping, to the amazement of all the prisoners who saw the scene.”  Onesiphorus had “splagchnon,” gut feeling.  And he found out that the apostle Paul was in jail.  And I can see him now, going up to some burley soldier, “Hey, is Paul here?  He’s otherwise known as Saul of Tarsus.”  “Well, let me check.”  And he goes in there and he says, “Is there a Paul in here.”  And three guys raise their hands, you know.  And he comes back out and he says, “I’ve got three in here.”  And Onesiphorus says, “Well, go back in there and ask if one of them is the apostle of Jesus Christ.”  “Is Paul here, the apostle of Jesus Christ?”  Imagine the mockery, the reproof, the fact that he gave away his reputation to search after this old man, who was going to die, because he had compassion.  In fact, in II Timothy, chapter 4, verse 11, Paul says, “Only Luke is with me.” - everybody else is left in Asia.  And, here, this man makes a trip just to encourage.  I don’t think he walked in and said, “Paul, I’d like to be mentioned in II Timothy.”  “Paul, I’ve got a theological question and I need an answer.”  “Paul, I’d love to be able to go back home and say that I rubbed shoulders with the great apostle.”  No.  “Paul, I just wanted to come by and I’ve been looking all over for you in Rome.  In fact, I’ve been arrested and detained because I just want to put my arms around you and let you know I love you.”  Wow.

A good Samaritan, let me give you three things, in closing.  Number one, gives without concern for remuneration.  Gives without concern for remuneration.  This Samaritan pulled out the equivalent of $200 today.  And he said, “Look, I don’t know who this guy is but he needs help.  And here is $200.  Help him out.”  “Are you going to get paid back?”  “No.  This guy, I don’t even know if he has a cent on him but you take it anyhow.”  No thought of remuneration.  You know, I wonder how many twentieth century Christians would give to a church if the churches tax exempt status was taken away.  Well, you know, now you’re meddling, man, this is it, just keep moving.  You know, and I think we’re probably moving in that direction.  How many of us give to the Lord because we’re going to get a crown up there.  And there are jewels that are waiting.  And I am building my mansion.  Oh, my friends, a good Samaritan serves with compassion without any thought of remuneration.

Number two, a good Samaritan cares without concern for the religious status quo.  I love the illustration of William Carey, that I’ve used many times.  He stood up in a church meeting and he asked all the elders and the people to support him.  He wanted to go to India to preach the gospel to the heathen.  And somebody stood up and said, “Man, sit down.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.  Leave the heathen to somebody else.  That’s not the churches business.”  I think being a good Samaritan means being, perhaps, misunderstood, especially by the religious status quo.  “We’ve got, you know, your job description all mapped out and you stay within these confines and we’ll know you’re of God.”  And yet, the good Samaritan destroyed, perhaps, his reputation.  He was certainly defiled by the religious world.  He was contaminated.  He was dirty.

I think we need to evaluate, ladies and gentlemen, our own lives and ask the question, “Are we good Samaritans?  Do we give, without any thought of remuneration.”  I read an illustration, by one of my favorite authors, of a 71 year old lady who died of malnutrition.  She had begged at the back doors of her neighbors for years.  The clothing that she wore was from the Salvation Army.  She died from, literally, starvation.  And the state came in, she didn’t have any relatives that they knew of, and they found two keys that led them to two safety deposit boxes in two different banks.  In the first box, they found 700 AT&T stocks and a cash bundle totaling $200,000.  They went to the next bank and they found, not anymore stocks, just cash, about $600,000 worth.  She had over a million dollars to her name and she died of malnutrition.  Now that’s an exaggerated illustration.  But, ladies and gentlemen, you and I tend to hoard too, don’t we?  We are possessive with our possessions.  We build fences around our lives.  We build walls.  “And don’t interrupt me.”

Thirdly, a good Samaritan serves without concern for recognition.  Let me read you a poem.  “You know, Lord, how I serve You with great emotional fervor in the limelight.  You know how eagerly I speak for You at a men’s club.  You know how I effervesce when I promote a fellowship group.  You know my genuine enthusiasm at a Bible study.  But how would I react, I wonder, if You pointed at a basin of water and You asked me to wash the callused feet of a bent and wrinkled old man, day after day, month after month, in a room where nobody saw and nobody knew.”

Let’s bring back the ingredient of compassion.  How?  How am I ever to love my neighbor as myself?  It is by operating in the first statement made by that lawyer that was so correct.  By loving God, through Jesus Christ, with our hearts, with our souls, with all our strength, with our minds.                                                                                      




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