As we study the characteristics of the Good Samaritan, let’s ask ourselves if these qualities are true of us as well. He opened his eyes. Although all three men physically saw the critically wounded man, only the Samaritan looked and stopped to help. Before we can meet needs, we must be aware of them.
He opened his heart. The difference between the priest and Levite’s gaze and the Samaritan’s was compassion. The Samaritan saw the helplessness and suffering of the dying man, and his heart went out to him. Even though he knew that pausing on this dangerous road could result in being attacked and robbed himself, his compassion overruled his caution. Instead of being preoccupied with his own safety, he focused on the suffering of another.
He opened his hands. The Samaritan didn’t just feel sorry for this poor man, he relieved his suffering by pouring oil and wine on his wounds and bandaging them. But if he had merely treated the wounds and left him on the road, it wouldn’t have been much help. The Samaritan didn’t leave him behind, but lifted him onto his donkey, brought him to the nearest inn, and took care of him.
He opened his purse. Since the Samaritan was on a journey, he needed to continue traveling even though the injured man needed time to recover. Instead of simply dropping him off and leaving, the Samaritan paid the innkeeper to look after him. Then he promised to return and repay him for whatever more he had to spend for this man’s care.
He opened his schedule. The Samaritan was willing to have his trip interrupted in order to offer aid to a needy, helpless man. He put his journey on hold for a while in order to do that which was more important—show compassion and care to someone in need.
What we see in the Good Samaritan is a genuine Christlike attitude. Today we don’t lack opportunities to be Good Samaritans, but we must first see the needs, feel compassion, and be willing to be inconvenienced in order to give of our time and resources to help. As we allow the love of Jesus to flow through our hearts, we will understand more and more what it means to love our neighbor.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “A Modern-Day Samaritan,” which airs this weekend on TV.