(excerpt from a speech I gave to my church’s ladies group in August)
In Luke 10, a religious leader has asked Jesus “Who is my neighbor?”
30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,[c] telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
I want to have us consider for a moment, how a child who is entering foster care is like the man on the side of the road. She has been stripped of her belongings, robbed of her childhood innocence, emotionally (if not physically) beaten up… She is almost out of sight and invisible to society – she is in a ditch on the side of the road. The world crosses over to the other side of the road, abdicating any responsibility and refusing to involve itself in her plight. Often the church does likewise. We are too busy and stopping to help would be costly to us – it would take time, money, and emotional risk.
Why would we take this risk? Why would we open our hearts up to the hurt that will inevitably come?
This life is not about us. It is not about how much wealth or how many trophies we can acquire, how much fun we can have, how we can make a name for ourselves, or how comfortable we are. This life is about loving others and showing them the way to Jesus. If our eyes are on ourselves, we miss the blessing of being part of the work Jesus has for His church. Instead of spending our lives trying to gain, we need to be giving our lives away.