A Child is Born; a Son is Given

I am empowered by God because Jesus came to value and serve us.

Read it: Isaiah 9:6-7

Think on it:

Christmas is the time we celebrEmpowered-by-God-devotional-graphic--template---a-son-was-givenate the birth of Jesus, the Christ Child, to Mary and Joseph. We celebrate the story of the angels, the shepherds and the wise men. Unfortunately, sometimes that becomes the side story, and the Christmas tree, the decorations, the gifts, and the food, take over the celebration. I know that sometimes I forget to really focus on the wonder of it all. I don’t often think about the prophecy of Jesus’s birth told many, many years before He was born. When I do think about the story of Christmas, I tend to limit my thoughts on Jesus as this little child, forgetting who He was in all His completeness (before He was born and after He left this earth), and setting aside the real reason He came to this earth. The story of the birth of Christ can cause us to have a single focus – baby Jesus was born. There is so much more to this story.

Our Scripture passage this week, Isaiah 9:6-7 tells about the coming of this Baby. What I appreciate about this passage is the complete picture this gives us about who He was, is and will be.

  • For unto us a child is born” – Jesus was born as all humans are born. However, because Mary’s conception was a miracle of the Holy Spirit, He was a human but without sin. One theologian put it, “From the production of the egg in Mary’s ovary to the actual birth, the fetal state in Mary’s womb was entirely under the control, of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.”
  • To us a Son is given” – This Son was already in existence before His birth. John 1:1-2 says, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. He was with God in the beginning.” This Child who was born, was God. Jesus is the earthly child of the Heavenly Father. Jesus was the Heavenly Child of an earthly mother. He was fully man, “a child is born,” and yet He was fully God, “a Son is given.”
  • The government will be on his shoulders” – When this Child was born, He came in all humility. He came the first time to lie in a manger, to be mocked and scorned, to be brutally killed. When He comes again, He will come as a King returning to the throne, from which He will rule over the earth (Zechariah 14:9). Isaiah 9:7 describes the type of kingdom He will establish. It will be a great government, one that is characterized by peace, justice and righteousness, and one that lasts forever. This Child we celebrate at Christmas, will carry this kingdom “on His shoulders” (verse 6) and “the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish it” (verse 7).
  • And He will be called” – This speaks to the nature and character of this Child who was born. Here is a description of who He was, who He is, and who He will be. This is what this Child offers us today. These are the very things that He has promised us. These are the very things with which the Holy Spirit will empower us.
    • Wonderful Counselor – Jesus is a counselor who is truly worthy of this name. He is always on call. He is infinite in His wisdom. Do you need wisdom today? Do you need guidance? Matthew 11:28-30 tells us to turn to this Wonderful Counselor, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
    • Mighty God – There is nothing too hard for Jesus. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present. He tells us this in Jeremiah 32:27, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Are you facing an “impossible” situation? Let the Mighty God empower you through whatever you are facing – He is able.
    • Everlasting Father – This Child is our Abba, Father. He is loving, paternal, concerned, tender, faithful, and wise, a provider, guardian and protector. He will be all those things faithfully, forever. Psalm 103:13 says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” Because He is our Father, we have at our disposal all those things that a child receives from their father – a heritage, an inheritance, confidence (Romans 8:15-18). Your Father empowers you with these things. Are you in need? They are there for you to claim as a child of the Everlasting Father.
    • Prince of Peace – Even though this Baby, this Son of God, was born in a tumultuous time, He came to bring peace. When His kingdom is established on earth, peace will be the order of the day. Until that time, He brings peace to each person who allows Him to saturate their lives with only the peace He can give. Before He left the earth, He told us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Are you in a tumultuous time? Do you need the peace that only He can give? He has already provided it for you. You just need to accept the empowerment of His peace.

Because the Son of God came to earth as a human baby, we are able to be empowered by God. Because the Son of God came to earth to atone for our sins, by dying on the cross, we are able to be empowered by God. Because the Son of God rose from the grave, and has promised to return to set up His Kingdom here on earth, we are able to be empowered by God.

During this Christmas season, don’t just celebrate the Baby in a manger. Celebrate, also, the Son who was given. This song from Handel’s “Messiah” instills in me that awe, that wonder, and that majesty of the coming of Jesus. It is a majestic song, telling about the majestic Child, the majestic Son of God, who will one day be the Majestic Ruler.

Pray about it:

“Father, thank you for sending Your Son to this earth on that very first Christmas. Thank you for allowing Him to be completely human, yet fully God. Thank you for the promise of the coming of Jesus to set up His kingdom here on earth. Thank you that because He came, I can have a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, an Everlasting Father, and a Prince of Peace. This Christmas, help me to keep the awe and majesty of this event close to my heart, so I can celebrate the real wonder of Christmas. Amen.”

Act on it:

Who do you need to come alongside you and empower you today? Is it the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, or the Prince of Peace? God has empowered you through your relationship with Him. Today, claim what He has for you.

Parenting Tips:

Be sure to help your child focus on the real meaning of Christmas. Read the story of the birth of Christ to them. Tell them about how His birth was prophesied so long ago. Tell them about the real reason He came. Tell them that He is coming again. Tell them that, in the meantime, He has provided for us and empowers us with whatever it is we need. That is what Christmas is really all about.

Christmas – the Savior Came to Serve

“I am empowered by God because Jesus came to value and serve us.”

Read it: Mark 10:45

Think on it:

Empowered-by-God-devotional-graphic--template---JESUS-CAME-to-value-and-serve-usTis’ the season. Look all around you and you can’t help but be reminded that the Christmas season is upon us. I love this time of year, with all the beautiful decorations, the anticipation of family getting together, hearing the beautiful Christmas carols, and the giving of gifts to one another. Even though those things are wonderful, it is so important that we do not allow them to take over the real reason for Christmas. Christmas is about the Son of God (the representation of God’s nature) taking on human nature and becoming a man (Hebrews 1:3). Christmas is about the miraculous birth of a baby, by a virgin (Mary) conceived by the Holy Spirit – He truly is the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Christmas is about the coming of a man in whom dwelt all the fullness of God (Colossians 2:9). Christmas is about the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy – the Messiah being born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), from the line of David (Isaiah 11:1). Christmas is about the coming of the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 6:9). Christmas is about the Savior coming to serve, and not to be served (Mark 10:45).

Let’s focus on Mark 10:45. It is not your typical Christmas verse, but it really does speak about the reason Christ came to this earth. This verse tells us of two of the reasons Christ came:

  1. He came to “give His life as a ransom for many.” Man was separated from God because of sin. The results of sin in the world are physical death and spiritual death. Jesus came as a solution for the problem of spiritual death. He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
  2. Jesus also came to serve us. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” Herein lies the problem. We are like Peter, who refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet (John 13:8-9). We would rather wash Jesus’ feet, because we want to earn His approval. Jesus said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Jesus was telling Peter that unless he humbled himself to allow Jesus to serve him, he was not a part of Christ.

This verse is really not about us serving Jesus or even serving others. It is not about how we tell God, “Thanks for your gift. I really need to pay you back. I’m going to go out and try my best for you. I’m going to go out and do a bunch of good things to ‘pay it forward’ so we can be even.” The truth here is how we should allow ourselves to be continually served by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. As we allow the abundance of the Holy Spirit to be part of our lives, we are transformed every day. It is that transformation, through the service of the Holy Spirit in our lives, which motivates us to go out and serve others – so that they can then be served by Christ.

This Christmas, celebrate the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth to serve you. He served you by giving His life as a ransom for you. He did that so you could have a new life. This Christmas, ask God to help you love and serve others in such a manner that one day, they too, will receive God’s gift of salvation.

Pray about it:

Father, I am so thankful that You came to this earth. Thank you for the gift of Jesus. Thank you for how He served me by dying for my sins and giving me the gift of salvation. I need to continue to allow the Holy Spirit to serve me, to work in me. Help me to have Your eyes for serving others – not for me to feel good, or to repay You – but to help them to have the opportunity for Your salvation and to be able to take part in You serving them. Amen.

Act on it:

During your prayer times this week, focus on these things:

  • Gratefulness for the amazing gift of Jesus
  • Gratefulness for the sacrifice of His life to bring us to salvation
  • Gratefulness for the service of the Holy Spirit in our lives every moment, every day
  • Prayer for opportunities to love and serve those around us that they might be brought to salvation

Parenting Tips:

During this Christmas season, continually emphasize the real reason we celebrate Christmas. It is so easy for children to be distracted and focus on all the Christmas frills. You need to be purposeful about exposing them to the biblical account of Christ’s coming; the reason for His coming, and what that means for them personally. Don’t just allow them to get the “real” story at church or at school – you need to be the advocate of the Truth for your child.

God-appointed Opportunities to Go the Extra Mile

Read it: Galatians 6:9-10

Think on it:

Empowered-by-God-devotional-graphic---VALUE-OTHERS-God-appointedOn July 4, 1951, Florence Chadwick set out to be the first woman to swim 21 miles from Catalina Island to the California coast. As she started her swim, a dense fog settled in. She had guide boats in front of her as well as behind her. They were there to keep her on track and keep any sharks away. As the day wore on, the fog stayed, and Florence could only see the boats that surrounded her. After some time, Florence grew tired. Those in the boats kept encouraging her to stay the course and keep swimming. Their encouragement kept her going for a while. She swam on, but after 15 gruesome hours in the frigid water, she gave up, only to find out that she had quit within a half-mile of her goal. She later told a reporter, “If I could have seen land, I might have made it.” There is a happy ending to this story. A year later she attempted the swim again. As before, fog set in, obscuring anything from sight except for her guide boats. But this time she made it, because she kept telling herself that the land was there, even if she couldn’t see it. That was enough to keep her going, and to even break the men’s record by two hours.

For the past several weeks, we have been looking at what it means to “go the extra mile.” We have discovered that we are not to act out of revenge when wrong is done to us, but to react with kindness and goodness toward those who would do us wrong. Going the extra mile means that it will cost us something – time, money, effort, etc. Going the extra mile is hard. Sometimes when we go the extra mile, it is not received in the manner in which we were hoping – with joy and appreciation. When we work so hard to go the extra mile for others, and we do not see any good coming out of it, it is very easy to become discouraged and to give up. Paul’s message to the church in Galatia was to “not become weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9-10).

John Calvin, a 16th century French theologian summed it up like this, “This precept is especially necessary because we are naturally lazy in the duties of love, and many little stumbling blocks hinder and put off even the well-disposed. We meet with many unworthy, many ungrateful people. The vast number of the needy overwhelms us; we are drained by paying out on every side. Our warmth is damped by the coldness of others. Finally, the whole world is full of hindrances which turn us aside from the right path. Therefore, Paul does well to confirm our efforts, so that we do not faint through weariness” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentary, Vol. 11, page 114).

Just as Florence Chadwick lost sight of her goal of the California coast, it is very easy for us to lose sight of the real reason for doing good, for going the extra mile. It is too easy to focus on the difficulties of the task of going the extra mile, rather than to keep our focus on the actual purpose of going the extra mile. The first thing we must focus on is Whose work we are doing. Are we going the extra mile for our own benefit? To receive glory? To feel good about ourselves? Any of those are the wrong focus. We should not be focused on how we feel or on how people respond to our help, but on how faithful we are to God’s assignment to do good. Mother Theresa was known around the world for the good she did for the desperate people in the streets of Calcutta, India. Hers was no easy task, and I am sure at times she struggled to keep on going. What kept her going the extra mile? This was her reply, “By blood I am all Albanian. My citizenship is Indian. I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the whole world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to Jesus.” Her motivation came from her deep desire to serve her Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul reminds his readers that the ministry of doing good is given to us by God (verse 1). He also says that focusing on the eternal benefit of going the extra mile will help us to not “lose heart” (verses 16-17).

Another important point in our passage this week is found in Galatians 6:10. Paul says, “…as we have opportunity, let us do good…” The word for “opportunity” in this verse comes from the Greek word, Kairos. Its meaning is a “fixed and definite time; the right time; opportune or seasonable time.” This “opportunity” Paul writes about is not just a chance happening, or a coincidence. The opportunities are times which are appointed by God. Every opportunity we have to go the extra mile has been appointed to us by God. This is a plea to not live casually, or serendipitously. We are called to live with purpose, realizing that God opens doors. We need to pray for discernment to recognize the moments of God’s opportunities in our lives. God has appointed us a task. We have a choice, first of all, to ask for eyesight to see the task, and then, the strength and help to complete the task. To be blind to opportunities to go the extra mile or, once we see them, to ignore them, is the same as telling God that we choose not to do what He has appointed us to do. These are not just missed opportunities, they are refusals to do what we must.

As you walk through your week, be discerning to see His opportunities to do good. Never give up going the extra mile. Never allow your circumstances, the people around you, or other hardships you face, to stand in the way of allowing the blessings that God has poured into your life to overflow into the lives of others. Look for the God-appointed opportunities He places in front of you. Keep your focus on God. Then act – go the extra mile.

Pray about it:

“Father, I am so sorry for those times I was unaware of the opportunities You placed in front of me to go the extra mile in helping others. I am so sorry for those times I saw the opportunity but refused to do anything about it. I need Your help to be discerning, to see those opportunities, and then I need Your help to remain focused on the results You will bring. This is Your work, to which You have called me to be a part. I really do want to do the right thing – I need Your help. Thank you. Amen.”

Act on it:

This week, there are four areas on which you can focus. You may want to focus on all four, or just select one or two.

  • Discernment to see the God-appointed opportunities to go the extra mile.
  • Willingness to obey and do what is required.
  • Place your focus on the results that God will bring about – the eternal.
  • Endurance to stick with the task, no matter how hard or how long.

Parenting Tips:

With children, it is easy to focus on the actual task of going the extra mile, because it is something they can see and experience. As a parent, you need to constantly bring them back to the “why” behind doing good, and to the eternalness of God’s work.

Powered to Go the Extra Mile

“I am empowered by God to value others by going the extra mile.”

Read it: Ephesians 3:20-21

Think on it:Empowered-by-God-devotional-graphic--template---VALUE-OTHERS-powered

Going the extra mile – it is something that Jesus has told us we are to do. It is something we don’t just do for our friends, but we do it for all. The cost can be great. It could cost us time, money, emotional investment, physical exertion, or a combination of any of these. Going the extra mile will cost you. We can have all kinds of good intentions to go the extra mile for those we meet, but why do we not do well in making that part of our day-to-day approach to life? I have thought a bit about this, and have come to a conclusion about why this is the case. Because going the extra mile does cost us something, we can quickly deplete our supplies of time, money, emotion, or physical ability in helping others. We do not have a limitless supply of any of the above-mentioned things. Therein lies the issue – we have a limited supply to give to others. Once our supply runs out, we are not able to continue on the extra mile.

Our focus this year is “Empowered by God.” We do not have the power to go the extra mile all on our own, but we don’t need to have; actually, we shouldn’t even try to do it under our own strength. We will run out of gas, long before we go all the extra miles that come our way. This is what I love about our verse for the week. Ephesians 3:20-21 tells us, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Let’s take a closer look at what these verses are telling us.

The first, and the most important thing, is that our focus needs to be on Christ:

  • to Him who is able”(verse 20)
  • “according to His power”(verse 20)
  • to Him be glory”(verse 21)

We are reminded several times throughout these two verses that we must not focus on ourselves – on what we can and cannot do; thinking that the cost of doing the right thing is too high; of being selective about for whom we will or will not go the extra mile. Paul makes it very clear that Christ is our focus – He is the one who is able; He is the one that has the power; His glory is the reason we should walk that extra mile.

Are you struggling with going that extra mile for your spouse? For your coworker? For the stranger you meet? Try refocusing on Christ, remembering that He is the source of power, that our motivation should be for His glory, and that He is able to do whatever is needed.

Next, we are to remember that this power is from Him – not from us:

  • “to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (verse 20)
  • “His power that is at work within us” (verse 20)

How’s your imagination? These verses clearly tell us that God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine! That’s a lot! If we are focusing on our limited power – on our physical limitations, low financial resources, scarcity of time, etc., we are setting ourselves up for failure and we will not make it the distance of the extra mile. As believers, we already have His power available to us, to do whatever the task before us.

Why do we not take advantage of His power that is a work within us? What gets in our way? There could be any number of things. Sin can be a block; unbelief in what God has promised will certainly keep us from moving forward; selective obedience (choosing to obey or not); many things can interfere. Take some time and examine why you might not be willing to go the extra mile for someone, to get to the reason.

Finally, when we allow His power to work through us for others, it will have a far greater impact than we can know:

  • “in the church” (verse 21)
  • “throughout all generations” (verse 21)
  • “for ever and ever” (verse 21)

When we allow Christ’s power to work, the impact can be great. It impacts the body of believers – others see the power of Christ in action and can be motivated to do the same. God did not intend for us to go the extra mile alone – we are privileged to belong to a family of believers who will support and encourage us. The great work done by God’s power through us will impact others for generations and even into eternity. God’s power is unlimited – that also means timeless. You never know what impact you will have into the future because of what you do today.

It can be hard to see past the moment and the struggle of going the extra mile. Ask God to give you His vision and perspective for impacting others past this moment in time. Allow the work you are doing to be Kingdom work – for all generations and for ever and ever!

Stephen Sizer, British clergy, summed it up beautifully:

“There is quite simply no limit to what God can do. The infinite ability of God to work beyond our prayers, thoughts and dreams is by the power at work within us. That is, within us individually (Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith) and within us as a people (who are the dwelling place of God by His Spirit). It is the power of the resurrection, the power which raised Christ from the dead, enthroned him in the heavenlies and then raised and enthroned us up there with Him. That is the power which is at work within the Christian and the church.” (www.stephensizer.com/2009/11/confidence-to-pray-ephesians-314-21/)

Pray about it:

“Father, thank you for Your promise of the Holy Spirit in us, Who empowers and equips us to do what you have asked – to go the extra mile for our neighbors. I confess that I fail many times because my lack of faith and trust that You will give me what I need – even beyond my comprehension – to accomplish what needs to be done. Help me in my unbelief. Keep reminding me to rely on You and not on myself to accomplish Your work. Amen.”

Act on it:

Take time this week to examine why you might be struggling in going the extra mile. It might be with the whole concept, it might be with a lack of faith that God will equip you with what you need to go that extra mile. Maybe you are struggling with going the extra mile for a particular person. Spend time with God and be honest in your struggle (He already knows about it). Confess what you need to confess. Then spend time in the Word reading about how God’s power is there for you. Then act on whatever God has placed on your heart. It has been said that the journey of one thousand miles begins with one step. It is the same with going the extra mile – it begins with one step. Take that step this week.

Parenting Tips:

Continue to encourage your child to go the extra mile for those around them. They will also notice when you go the extra mile for them or for your spouse, your neighbor, your church, etc.

The Extra Mile of the Good Samaritan

I am empowered by God to value others by going the extra mile.

Read it: Luke 10:25-37

Think on it:Empowered-by-God-devotional-graphic--Title-template---VALUE-OTHERS-GOOD-SAM

The story of “The Good Samaritan” may be one of the best-known stories from the Bible. If you use the term “good Samaritan” most people will have some kind of understanding as to the characteristics of such a person. There are hospitals across the country that use “Good Samaritan Hospital” as their name, and that concept becomes a part of their mission statement.

For most people, the term conjures up a person who goes out of their way to help someone in need. I found several dictionary definitions of “good Samaritan” “a person who pities and helps another or others unselfishly” (Collins English Dictionary); “a person who gratuitously gives help or sympathy to those in distress” (Dictionary.com); “a person who helps other people and especially strangers when they are in trouble” (Merriam-Webster). Interestingly enough, all three of these sources referenced Luke 10 as the origin of the “good Samaritan” concept.

In the parable account of Luke 10, there is some context to understand, to gain the full insight into what Jesus was teaching. The Samaritans were of mixed Jewish descent. They were referred to as “half-breeds,” a term that is meant to be derogatory. They had also incorporated pagan rituals into their way of worshipping God (something that was forbidden by Old Testament law). These Samaritans were despised by the Jews because of their mixed blood, their pagan rituals, as well as historic atrocities they had committed against the building of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. At the time of Christ, they had a replica of the Jerusalem temple in which they had instituted a rival worship system. If a Jew needed to travel to a place that took them through Samaria, they would add days to their journey to go around the country, rather than defile themselves by going through it. They would not speak or associate with the Samaritans in any situation. In that Jewish culture, it is said they were hated even more than the Romans.

The parable begins with the telling of what happened to this traveler. It is assumed he was a Jew traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho on a very treacherous road. This road was known for the wild animals that lived there, as well as the robbers who would attack travelers. This is what happened to our Jewish traveler. On his journey, robbers “stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30). As he was lying on the road, three people came upon him. The first two were a priest and a Levite. Both of these men knew the law inside out. They knew what they were prohibited from doing and what they were allowed to do. The Old Testament law said that touching an injured person would make them “unclean,” requiring them to go through a cleansing ritual. But that same law also allowed and encouraged one to help an injured person, even an injured animal. Yes, it would take time and then it would take more time to get clean again, but they were allowed to help. Both of these men made the choice to avoid the injured man – to the point of going on the other side of the road. It is not clear what their real motivation was. Perhaps they didn’t help because it was too inconvenient. After all they were on a journey, in a dangerous place, and they didn’t have the time to help. They made a clear choice to not help – for whatever reason.

When the Samaritan came by, he saw the man and had compassion on him. He allowed those feelings to spur him into action. He stopped, cleaned and bandaged the wounds, put him on his donkey, and found a place where the man could recover. He even paid for the man’s care. Was the Samaritan inconvenienced? Yes – he, too, was on a journey. It took time to help with the wounds. Then he gave up his mode of transportation, and that slowed his journey down to a walk. Then he had to find a place to house the man during his recovery. Once there, he paid for the care out of his own pocket. Inconvenienced – yes, but he knew the right thing to do was to offer help to the injured man, regardless of the cost.

I think the most amazing thing about this story is who both of these men were. The one needing help came from the culture of hating the Samaritan. The Samaritan knew this. When he came across the wounded man, he made a choice. He could have thought, “Finally, a Jew getting what they deserve for the way they treat us!” Instead, he had compassion. He saw the hurt, the life flowing out of the man, and decided to step in, no matter the cost to himself. That is what a Good Samaritan is. Someone, who puts aside their prejudice and helps others, often at great cost to themselves. A Good Samaritan goes the “extra mile” as part of their act of kindness. They go out of their way to help – a total stranger, someone who doesn’t deserve their help, an enemy, whomever – it doesn’t matter.

Timothy Keller sums it up nicely in his book, Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just:

“We instinctively tend to limit for whom we exert ourselves. We do it for people like us, and for people whom we like. Jesus will have none of that. By depicting a Samaritan helping a Jew, Jesus could not have found a more forceful way to say that anyone at all in need – regardless of race, politics, class, and religion – is your neighbor. Not everyone is your brother or sister in faith, but everyone is your neighbor, and you must love your neighbor.”

For whom are you willing to be a Good Samaritan? For whom are you willing to go the extra mile? Jesus said we are to do this for our neighbor. Who is your neighbor?

Pray about it:

“Father, I need Your help to behave as this ‘Good Samaritan’ did. Thank you that You have given me Your Holy Spirit to empower me to go the extra mile for those who need my help. Help me to be available in my heart and mind to help others. Help me to lay aside my prejudice and convenience and go out of my way to help my neighbor. Thank you that I get to be an instrument of Your work. Amen.”

Act on it:

When you look closely at the parable of the Good Samaritan, it contains some practical ways we can do things for others.

  1. He had compassion – ask God to give you a heart that really feels for others.
  2. He took care of his wounds – think of things you can physically do to help your neighbor; be willing to get your hands dirty.
  3. He put him on his donkey, which cost the Samaritan time – give of your time to your neighbor (listening, talking, praying for them, etc.)
  4. He paid the innkeeper the cost for his care – donate (money, food, things, etc.) to organizations that help those in need. There are plenty of good ones out there.

These are just a few ways you can begin your Good Samaritan journey. It won’t always be convenient or easy – but it’s what Jesus has asked us to do.

Parenting Tips:

Brainstorm with your child about ways they can be a Good Samaritan – especially toward those it can be difficult to love. The four things mentioned above can be a general guide to have the conversation and then to act.