Friday, September 05, 2008

Re-Post: Get Off Your Ass and Do Something

Re-Post from 3 years ago.

I’ve always loved the story of the Good Samaritan. I’ve always loved the idea of someone showing kindness to someone else, but only recently have I begun to realize the serious call this puts on our lives as Christians.

As I’ve read the Gospels, I’ve noticed that Jesus reserves his harshest criticism for those who think they’ve got their beliefs right, but do nothing to act on them. This parable is no different as there are two members of the Jewish clergy who pass by the beaten man. Jesus always had strong words to speak against the religious authorities whether in Temple, or calling them a brood of vipers, or here in this story.

And to make it even more remarkable is that a Samaritan is the one who is the hero. He’s the one who gets off of his donkey and cares for the man. An outcast; a heretic. And when Jesus says, “Go and do likewise,” he’s telling a Jew to go and act like this Samaritan. To show mercy and kindness and compassion.

This is the call of the Gospel. This is the call of Christ. Jesus says here that our neighbor is anyone in need. Faith is good. Believing certain things seems important to Jesus. But if we do not act on those beliefs with compassion and love for each other, that faith is dead. If we don’t bother to get off our donkeys to care for people, we are not truly followers of the Christ whose name we purport to wear.

So I pose the question to the readers: What is our obligation to the poor? How involved to we get? Is donating funds enough? Should we get involved with the lives of the poor rather than kowtowing to the rich?


Snapshot said...

Refer to the title of your post.

Phil said...

Yes, that was part of the point. We actually have to get out of our comfort zones. For the Samaritan, his ass was his comfort zone and he had to get away from that. As do we. For us, getting off our asses might involve getting out of our churches and going into the "abandoned areas of the empire," as Shane Claiborne has put it.

Snapshot said...


Suzie said...

I happen to know a great place where you can do just what your post is talking about :)

Justin said...

Did snapshot just say amen to something that Claiborne said?


Hillery and Mike Cross said...

Hey Phil,
I was procrastinating today and read your blog (didn't feel like grading the 120 exams sitting on my table).
It's interesting that you bring that up because I recently had a discussion with someone about why people prefer to give money to organizations rather then get directly involved in someone's life. Mike and I met someone last year that was getting out a bad situation, poverty being only one of the issues. One year later and she still needs a lot of help. The person I was talking to raised the point that this lady had been to other churches before to ask for help, gotten it, gotten clean and doing well, and after a while always ended back where she started and so why would Mike and I want to invest our time and energy in her. Instead it was suggested that we invest our time in energy into someone who wasn't such a "lost cause".
I think frequently people (Christians included) want to know there will be a positive outcome when they invest in a person. Unfortunately we can't always gaurantee that though and so I think people prefer to throw money at a problem rather than step out on a limb and get close to someone who may let them down. That's not a very Biblical model though as there were plenty of occassions where Christ invested in people who didn't thank him or betrayed him.
I think people also want quick results, to come in for a short time and then go home and expect that will have solved the problem. And that rarely solves the problem, especially one of poverty. It has to be a long term investment of loving on someone while training, caring, and equipping someone so that they don't end up back in their same situation. And I think many people don't want to give up that much of their time.

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