Now I realize I haven’t posted in a while. I really haven’t had much to say that I haven’t already written about. Well… that is until recently. A few days ago God pressed upon my heart to review the parable of the Good Samaritan. This famous parable is layered in spiritual principle after spiritual principle. During my reflection, I discovered one that I personally have never considered before. Avoid doing only half a job!
Before we go on lets quickly review. Jesus has just been asked who is my neighbor? He responds by telling a story which doesn’t quite answer the question. Instead of demonstrating who a neighbor is; Jesus demonstrates how to be a neighbor. The story begins with a Jewish man being beaten up and left for dead on a road. A priest and a Levite both walk by passing them up. Interestingly, both the priest and the Levite would have had sufficient reason to not stop. If the man was dead, to touch or even come near the body would have prevented them from being able to attend to their temple duties. Finally a Samaritan comes by. Now the Jews loathed the Samaritans. They would refer to them as dogs. In fact Jews would travel hundreds of miles out of their way to get to Jerusalem just to avoid going through the country of Samaria. This Samaritan stops takes the Jewish man to an Inn. He pays the Inn keeper, telling him he will return to settle any debt that this initial payment doesn’t cover.
Did you catch that? He will return!
A lot of times Christians start a ministry with good intentions and a desire to truly help. So they begin to do things to help those in need. However, too many times these ministries only go about halfway in helping those they are trying to serve. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there is just not enough financial support to cover the cost of seeing things through to the end. Sometimes its a matter not initially understanding what exactly is going to be needed to help heal the problem. Other times it may be that the ministry is the starting point but there are others who must take over the responsibility of healing, as in the case of the inn keeper. Whatever the reason, many times ministries do not follow-up once the person has passed out of their care.
This is seen most clearly in the case of large salvation revival movements. Hundreds of people accept Christ, then are left on their own to figure out what comes next. There is nobody around to guide and teach them how to be a Christian. God uses people to spread his word, to train disciples, and encourage those new in the faith. Ministries must be designed to see healing from beginning to end. If responsibilities must be passed on then ministries must plan to do follow ups. Jesus, himself, sent a helper when he left. Shouldn’t we?
The Samaritan returned to see if all that needed to be done was covered. He made sure the only thing the man had to be concerned about was being well. This should be the aim of ministries of the Church. This should be the aim of Christians, as individuals. Let us remember the Parable of the Good Samaritan.