“So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” (Luke 10:36)
Jesus was the absolute master storyteller of parables – stories that illustrated His teachings (in Greek Para = “alongside of” and Ballo = “to throw.”) A lawyer asked Him the question: “Who is my neighbor?” In response Jesus told a parable about a man who was mugged and left half dead. When a priest saw him he passed by on the other side of the road and did not get involved. A Levite, or Temple assistant, who traveled that road did the same thing. Then a traveling Samaritan came down the road. When he saw the helpless man he gave him all the first aid he could, put the man on his animal and took him to an inn where he paid for his care. Jesus then asked the question quoted above.
This parable presents three philosophies of life. The mugger’s philosophy of life was: “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours will be mine as soon as I can take it.” The religious professionals in the story believed: “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.” The philosophy of the Samaritan was: “What’s yours is yours and what’s mine is yours any time you need it.” That is obviously the philosophy of life Jesus was teaching by His parable answer to the lawyer’s question.
May I ask you to get real and ask yourself which of these three philosophies of life and neighbor are yours? Do you believe people are to be exploited for your personal gain? Do you not want to get involved? Or are the people who intersect your life an opportunity for service?