Last year at Catalyst I heard the Parable of the Good Samaritan in a way that I hadn’t really thought of it before. Growing up, when I heard the story, I just generally concluded that the priest and the Levite that passed the hurt man on the side of the road were bad people and that the Good Samaritan was really the only good guy of the bunch. But last October Christine Caine said something about this story that has rocked my world. And it keeps coming up.
But she basically just said that these first two men were Godly men. The first was a priest, someone teaching the Gospel. the Levites were called to serve the priests and to take care of the tabernacle. The point being is that they were Godly men. Her thought was that they were Godly men, but were busy. They were probably on their way to their congregation, or on their way to a meeting or on their way to their next conference and were going to what they thought was their ministry when really they weren’t seeing that the focus of their ministry was lying on the side of the road dying.
They were busy.
But the Good Samaritan, he was willing to be interrupted. He felt compassion and had mercy on the man who was hurt and dying. He took the time that he probably didn’t have, the energy that was probably waning and the money that he had earned and took care of someone he didn’t know and may never see again. I think Christine Caine also said that the effectiveness of your ministry is directly linked to your willingness to be interrupted…ouch.
This past week has really brought this story around for me. Right now there’s a lot of pain and sickness and just yuck going on with some of my friends and their families. People are sick and at different hospitals in our area. And I feel like I need to be everywhere to spend some time with them, let them know that I’m there for them, when really what I want to do is curl up in bed and sleep. Oh, I’ve got to get up early tomorrow morning, so I can’t make the two-hour round trip to the hospital with you because then I’ll be tired for work, and that’s just not how I want to show up for work…Because that’s an awesome excuse.
Have you ever tried to make that excuse to someone who is hurting? Yeah, I can’t really drive all that way to spend time with you because I don’t want to be tired in the morning. I know you need help and support, but, well, I just don’t have the energy.
Try telling that to someone who has been sitting in the hospital for days stressing over a loved one who is sick.
Tonight we read about generosity in 2 Corinthians 8. One verse stuck out to me, brought up by my friend, Dena. “At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.” 2 Corinthians 8:14.
So I’m learning to give more of myself. I’m trying to love more, and being there for people is huge. You probably won’t know how huge until you need someone. I’m learning not to have a panic attack when I step into hospital waiting rooms or hospital rooms themselves. Until last October I probably wouldn’t have come to visit you in the hospital. I would have went to see you at home, but not a hospital. I’m learning that love always runs to hurt and pain and not away. I’m learning to live a life, well, interrupted.
I’m sorry for being selfish with my time when you needed me. I’m sorry for putting what I desired over what you needed. I’m sure it will happen again at some point, but it’s my goal to continue to learn and get better.
But as I hugged a friend at the hospital Wednesday night as his family was going through a really rough time I was reminded the beauty of being there for someone. And as I lay at the hospital until the early hours of Saturday morning this weekend listening to the rhythmic heartbeat of my friends’ unborn child, I was awakened to the beauty and goodness and compassion and grace of our unrelenting God.