One of the first Bible stories that I remember hearing as a little girl was the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s a parable Jesus told in Luke 10:30-37:
"A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
'Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?' Jesus asked.
The man replied, 'The one who showed him mercy.'
Then Jesus said, 'Yes, now go and do the same.'” (NLT)
In this story, we have a gentleman who had an obvious need. He’d just experienced a crisis—he’d been beaten, stripped of everything, including his clothes, and left by the side of the road for dead. At that moment, he needed safety and medical help. He needed urgent, practical care.
Yet, the first two people who walked by did nothing. They just ignored the situation and went on with their own lives. It was only the good Samaritan who stopped, went out of his way, and showed the man love by meeting his practical needs.
As followers of Jesus, we need to realize that part of our calling is to follow the example of the Good Samaritan and show love to people by meeting their practical needs. When we encounter someone who has an obvious need, we should do all that we can to meet it.
“So, great point, Adessa, but how can I fulfill this part of my calling when I’m social distancing?”
Well, I’m glad you asked because that is exactly what this blog is about. As I said last week, I do not believe that the coronavirus gives followers of Christ an excuse to retreat from their God-given calling. Instead, this is a time for us to accelerate our endeavors and live out all of the teachings we’ve received over the years.
Even while we are obeying our government’s guidelines to help contain the virus, we can still fulfill our calling by meeting the practical needs of others. In fact, following the government’s guidelines are a good place to start. The truth is that every time we wash our hands, cover our cough, clean a surface, or put our desire for community aside to protect another, we are meeting someone’s practical need for safety.
However, as Christians, it doesn’t have to stop there. Like the Good Samaritan, we can go above what everyone else is doing and live out our calling by meeting people’s personal needs.
Here are some practical options:
Do you have a neighbor or family member who is elderly or has a pre-existing medical condition? When you check on them, offer to go to the pharmacy or drug store, or even just call to check on them, you are fulfilling your God-given calling.
When you make a phone call to someone who lives alone, giving them a human connection…..when you FaceTime a friend with a word of encouragement…when you help out at your church’s food bank or even when you write a check to a charity that is meeting the practical needs of people…you are living a life worthy of your calling and being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Sharing is another big way that we can live out our calling during this time of crisis. Don’t hoard everything for yourself; just take what you need and leave the rest for others.
If you have more than you need, share it with someone who doesn’t have enough.
If your family hasn’t experienced a loss of work, consider sharing with a family that has lost their income.
One of the outstanding marks of the early church was that they shared everything. They weren’t all about taking care of themselves, but they had everything in common—-not because they were forced to, but because they wanted to. (Acts 2:43-45) This generosity allowed the Holy Spirit to provide for everyone and move mightily through them. If we want to experience the miracles of the early church, then we should adopt their attitudes and become generous, sharing people.
Of course, there are more things that we can share than just physical items. During this time that is filled with fear and anxiety, as followers of Christ, we can share hope.
We can share hope with our families.
When we interact with people outside of our home, whether it be at the grocery store, the pharmacy, the gas station or a doctor’s office, we can share hope. We can smile. We can give words of encouragement. We can thank those who are working and serving all of us for their sacrifice.
A simple, “Thank you”, “I’m praying for you”, “You’re doing a great job”, or “You’re going to get through this” can mean so much and provide them with needed hope and encouragement.
Another important way that we all need to share hope is on social media. I am so tired of seeing followers of Christ using this medium to spread fear and panic. Here’s the truth: the news and the CDC is keeping everyone informed on what they need to do. No one needs you to keep filling their timeline with worst-case scenarios, doomsday predictions, and apocalyptic prophecies. JUST STOP.
Instead, choose to be a conduit of hope. Post Scriptures. Post encouragement. Post a funny story. A picture of your dinner. Even a stupid cat video. Let’s share hope with the world instead of fear.
Trust me, the world has the fear genre covered. As a follower of Christ, make it your calling to spread hope, to draw people to Jesus, to share that we do not have to let fear rule our lives today and that even in death we have hope for tomorrow. Who knows if your positive attitude won’t cause someone to ask, “Why aren’t you afraid?” Then you have the opportunity to tell them about Jesus.
Again, even in the direst circumstances, being persecuted by the Roman government, the disciples didn’t spread fear or panic to the early churches. Instead, their writings are encouragements to hold fast to Jesus, to walk in faith, and to obey God’s Word. Let’s follow their example and share hope rather than fear.
One last thing that we can all share is prayers.
Pray for the President, the Vice President, the experts leading our country. It doesn’t matter if you like their politics…they need wisdom for how to lead our country through this. Pray for them!
Pray for the governor and our local officials to have wisdom during these unprecedented times.
Pray for pastors.
Pray for doctors and nurses.
Pray for the sick to be healed and pray for the virus to stop.
Pray for unsaved relatives, neighbors, and for this crisis to lead people to Jesus.
Prayer is one of the most practical things we can do during a time of crisis. It’s the responsibility of every Christian.
If you know someone who is struggling, call or Facetime them and pray for them.
It seems like a little thing but it’s really so big. Who knows the difference it will make in someone’s day as you take time from worrying about yourself and your world to reach out to them?
That really was the big difference between the first two men who passed and the Good Samaritan—-one was willing to interrupt their lives and reach out to help someone else. The others were too self-absorbed.
Today, I ask you, “In this time of crisis, what creative way does the Holy Spirit want you to be a Good Samaritan?”
Are you asking Him?
When He lays someone on your heart, will you obey Him?
If you do, then you are walking in your God-given calling, even during this difficult time. You are being who you are created to be—a follower of Jesus. That calling never takes a break-even during periods of social distancing.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.