The Update: Awake! Part 21

by | Apr 30, 2018 | Awake!

For our 25th anniversary celebration I planned a trip for my wife to a place she has always dreamed of visiting: New Zealand!

I planned this trip for months in advance, meticulously taking care of even the tiniest details so that everything would be ideal. I ran into a hitch, however, at one of the bed and breakfast establishments. The place had the best location in the entire city, right on a hill with a view over the town and the Pacific Ocean. All that, and it was also affordable! The only problem was this: The Pacific View room, the room with the best view, had already been reserved, and I had no choice but to choose a different room.

I was disappointed, but I left the whole matter in God’s hands. After all, He knows what is best for us! A few months later, when we actually entered this fine establishment, the owner had some great news for us. “When the people who reserved the Pacific View room learned the couple who were celebrating their 25th anniversary were coming here, they insisted to give you their room. You will have the best view in the house!”

We couldn’t believe our ears. God had come through again. I was even more astonished that these people who didn’t hesitate to offer up their room for complete strangers, were Muslims. How humbling! What manner of love was this, anyway?

One day an expert of the law came to Jesus and asked Him: “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29 NIV)

Imagine being that expert of the law in those days. The only thing you know are your fellow believers and the only ones you may consider worthy of being your neighbours are the ones you worship with. Sad attitude, I know!

Jesus revolutionizes this concept with a simple parable. A man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by some thugs who beat him to a pulp and left him to die.

Laying there on the road, a priest came by. You would think that a man of the cloth would stop to help, but he did the opposite! Maybe he was running late for a meeting, but since when is our priority list more important that loving others the way Jesus did?

The next one to pass by was a pastor (A Levite in Jesus’ story). He, too, would be expected to come to the assistance of this poor man. Instead he pretended the victim didn’t exist. It’s true that many pastors have very little time. But does this justify such actions?

The third one was a terrorist (A Samaritan in the real story, but Samaritans were considered terrorists in those days!). There’s no way this guy would stop! If he did, it would probably be to blow the poor victim into the next county!

But he did the opposite. He stopped, he attended the victim’s wounds, and then he loaded the bleeding, nearly-dead man into his brand-new Porche and drove him to a nearby Hilton. Here he covered all expenses, including care, insisting that he wanted this guy cared for until he was completely well.

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” Asked Jesus. (Luke 10:36 NIV)

Imagine being that poor soul, and find yourself waking up in a deluxe environment, with people taking care of you, all thanks to a terrorist! Then you are made aware that those elite believers in your congregation didn’t even lift a finger to help you. How would you feel? Who showed you mercy? Wouldn’t this confuse you?

I know this whole parable is a bit hard to swallow. But aren’t we, as Christians, supposed to love like Jesus did? Why didn’t the priest or the pastor stop to help this pour guy?

Good question! However if we are truly honest, we also have had our fair share of disappointments with people we considered “followers of the Way”. Labeling ourselves as Christians doesn’t make us one!

What a lesson we receive from those who are not supposed to love like this! Fortunately, God’s love is not reserved for an elite group. All of us are His children, and accordingly, He reaches out to each one of us. Jesus urges us to love in the same way!

When we don’t show God’s love in our lives, however, we are broadcasting that we are fakes: “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.” (Titus 1:16 NIV)

Love cannot exist if we have no room for the One who is called the Lover of our soul!

“Great news! I have an update for you. You will have the best room in the house!” What a day that will be, when we are finally home with our Heavenly Father!

Rob Chaffart

(To access the entire “Awake!” devotional series, please click here.)


The Update: Awake! Part 21