He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the Innkeeper; ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.
–Luke 10:34-35

An “expert” in Jewish law came to Jesus and questioned Him about what he should do to inherit eternal life. When Jesus told him to love God above all and his neighbor as himself, the “expert” challenged Jesus on who his neighbor was. He hoped to be given a list of people he had to treat right, but Jesus doesn’t let him off so easily. In response, Jesus related to him the story of a Samaritan who not only stops to care for the injured man, but also pay his expenses. Jesus is telling the “expert” of the law that our neighbors are everyone around us since Jews would never have considered Samaritans their neighbors and vice versa.

The Samaritan’s response, reflected in the passage above, shows us the Jesus calls us to give ourselves away to other people. That is what it means to be a neighbor. We put others’ needs ahead of our own. (Phil. 2:1-4) Jesus shows two ways to help others. First, the Samaritan gave his time to help the injured man. Secondly, he used his personal finances to help this stranger. Generosity is not easy; there is a personal cost in giving of ourselves.

How about you? Are you ready to meet the challenges that Jesus gave the expert in law? Are you ready to be the kind of neighbor who gives of him/himself in both your time and finances? Where will you be involved in giving yourself away?

Used with permission from Sunshine Community Church, Grand Rapids, MI and The Barnabas Foundation.