Who Is To Be Served?

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Christians often ask: Who are we to help? Who am I to serve? That is obvious. In the parable of Jesus in Luke 10: 30-37 on the Good Samaritan, the Good Samaritan served the person in need who was in his path. Now the Samaritan obviously had the Spirit of Christ in him, because he felt compassion for the wounded man who had been set upon by thieves. The Samaritan answered the call of the spirit of Christ within him, as all of us ought to do, and helped the wounded man as best he could with what he had. Who did the Samaritan help? He helped the person in his path who needed help.

The Good Samaritan let himself be led by the Spirit of Christ within him. There is the Spirit of Christ in all of us to some degree. Some will not answer it. Some will suppress it. Some will go out of their paths not to answer the universal Spirit of Christ calling out within them just as the priest and the Levite refused. They crossed the street to avoid helping. They were probably not bad persons, but ordinary persons frustrating grace within them to be off and about their ordinary busy day. Their sense of compassion and grace had probably been dulled or ground down by the daily grind of commercial life.

There is that Spirit of Christ inside of us that sometimes we lose. Even the best of us at times lose it., Sometimes we are deaf to it. Sometimes we repress grace; yes, sometimes we suppress those calls of grace within ourselves struggling to break free from the selfishness of the flesh. Anyway we can “frustrate” grace. But our better actions show grace honored and compassion indulged in a practical manner that does not render compassion weak, sentimental or effete.

Our actions show grace when we do undeserved good things to aid others. Grace is something others may NOT rightly merit or be deserving of. But the Samaritan’s good action, as part of God’s grace reflected by us, did not consider whether the wounded man deserved help. It considered only the wounded man’s need for help. The Samaritan’s help did not consider: Is this person deserving and other self-righteous grumbling and patent nonsense!

Too often Christians become involved in irrelevant issues like, Does this person deserve help? Who deserves what is the business of God the Father talking it over with God the Son. In the meantime we as Christians are bid to do good to everyone according to their needs, not their color, not their class, not their nationality, not their social position, not their intelligence, not their schooling, not their sins, and not if their morals have slipped and they have a troubled past. But we are created with the universal spirit of Christ in us all to some degree, and we see Christ’s spirit clearly among the rhythms of our natures when the Good Samaritan’s compassion comes forth to minister to an unknown person.

Now the Good Samaritan, it should be recalled, was one of a people the Jews considered of an inferior race and an heretical religious persuasion. God is showing us in the spiritual nobility of the supposedly inferior Samaritan that Christ is in all persons, even those thought second best in this world. But what does the ignorance of this world know, particularly among those denying the existence of God, of the universal spiritual rhythms of Christ that Nature’s God has implanted in every human?

The parable also shows us that those who were “frustrating grace,” were the Levite and the priest, those among the higher and more educated groups of Jewish society. It was the lowly Samaritan, one of those widely looked down upon, who had the true religious faith marked by a good heart that was through grace listened to. Do not bother me with nonsense like, “Who do I serve?” Serve the senior citizen next door, the community committees that have good causes, the churches that need your help, the lonely people whom no one would take care of. Whom no one would serve is one of those Christians should serve. Are we not the emissaries of Jesus? Answer the Christ Spirit within you. Respond to the impulses of grace.

Be sure the Divine Providence of God has placed some of those who need serving in your path. I have no doubt it was the Divine Providence of God that placed the wounded man in the path of the Good Samaritan. True, it was an experience both the Samaritan and the wounded man would no doubt have not undergone.

The Samaritan would have rather been on his business trip. The wounded man would certainly have preferred not to be set upon by thieves. But God creates unities in this world. He places the man who needs help in the path of those who can help. It is this way we are tested in our spiritual life, and in this way we spiritually grow. It is the same way the child is given to each mother. They need each other. Through unity in need and answer, we develop.

Of course I am sure the call of grace, the light of grace, and response to the Spirit of Christ, inside of us will never come at the most convenient times I suggest Christ comes at the most inconvenient of times. It will be at the worst of times, not the best of times.

We do not make appointments for our convenience with God, but God works at Times Appointed. The leaves fall when the seasons appoint. God works in seasons of grace according to rules we cannot always understand and certainly do not know. But who are you to dictate to God when and where He shall have need of you? He determines the time for your adventures in grace that will help you grow. But do not look for Exotica. Look for the need in your path.

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.