Theme of the Week: Reflecting God’s Generosity
Bible Verse: But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” Luke 10:33-35
Scripture Reading: Luke 10:30-37
Not many of us have treasure in the pirate or king sense—mounds of gold and jewels piled in secret rooms or squirreled away. Perhaps some of us do. Hopefully few of us have treasure in the Gollum/Smeagol sense—not much but fiercely guarded and inappropriately attached to. Both pirates and Gollums view their treasures the same way. All theirs, and all for them. It is, “my precious.”
We don’t need to be told that that approach to our treasures, whether it is money or other possessions, is wrong. We can feel that it is. It’s part of the reason those characters make such good bad guys. They embody traits that we know are off. Don’t misunderstand. It’s not that we shouldn’t have things or that what we have worked for isn’t ours. But when we are so consumed with what we have that we become hoarders, unwilling to share—coming up with a variety of reasons why we can’t give/help we have crossed into dangerous territory (remember the Priest and the Levite in the parable).
The question is, are we a Gollum or a pirate? Take heart, there are other options.
Coming back to the parable of the Good Samaritan, we can see in the hero, a very different approach to treasures.
We’ve already noted how the Samaritan gave his time to help the man in need, sacrificing his own schedule. But he also gave his resources. The oil and bandages he used to treat the man’s wounds. These were his own possessions. It may have been that the oil was for his own food, or perhaps he was taking it to a market to sell. Either way, he did not hesitate to use them for the man in need. He gave his money as well, paying for the room at the inn and promising to reimburse the innkeeper for any further expenses incurred.
Of course, we can be generous with our money and our possessions! But are we? Jesus told this parable to answer the question of who are our neighbors. But it also illustrates how we are to love them. The law expert had correctly said the need to love God and neighbor. Now Jesus was answering who was the neighbor and throwing in a bonus of what it means to love them: loving neighbor may mean being generous with our time, and our possessions.
Prayer: Father, there is so much to be challenged by in the parable of the Good Samaritan. I’d like to think that I would never avoid someone who so clearly needed my help. But I confess that reasons not to help are easy to come up with. Please help me to not only see others in the way you do, but to see my possessions as ways that I can help those around me.
Reflection: How do you view your finances and possessions? Are they your “hard-earned” rewards? Take some time to evaluate your financial generosity. Does your record reflect a Samaritan or a Gollum?
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