Crossroads: The Good Samaritan

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Luke 10:25-37

My Story

As a young teenager, I went with my youth group to a soup kitchen one Saturday morning to feed the homeless. Several of my friends were going, and I wanted to have fun with my friends. But I didn’t actually want to feed the homeless. The homeless people I had seen were dirty, grimy, and to be honest, a little scary. So we arrived and they divided us into groups. I volunteered to make sandwiches to send with the homeless, so I wouldn’t have to interact with people who were so foreign to me. As luck would have it, we finished making sandwiches before the meal was over. The lady in charge of the soup kitchen looked at me and asked me to go refill drinks for the people who were in the dining hall eating. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t say no, so I grabbed the pitcher of tea, took a deep breath, and walked in. And then something amazing happened. As I went from table to table refilling glasses, I started to discover that these people weren’t so different from me after all. One man gave me a Christmas card as a thank you for refilling his glass. Although it was August, he made what little money he had by selling Christmas cards. He showed his appreciation by giving me the one thing that he had. I was astounded at the generosity of this man and my attitude began to change. I started to see that everyone in that building was a child of God and was my neighbor, as in the story of the Good Samaritan.

I would love to be able to say that I was the Good Samaritan in this story—that I didn’t care about the boundaries of class or the fear of someone different from me—but I wasn’t. If it had been my choice, I would’ve walked on by, left without ever interacting with any of those people. Although I wasn’t physically hurt, I was afraid of being there. And I think the homeless man with the Christmas card may just have been my Good Samaritan.

Your Story

Tell your children about a time when you tried to justify your behavior to God or when someone surprised you by showing compassion to you. You can also talk about a time when you were the Good Samaritan, or a time when perhaps you were the person who needed help, or even when you were one of the ones who walked on by. Talk about what happened and what you learned.

The Bible Story

For Preschoolers and younger elementary: Because the story of the Good Samaritan is a very violent one, this version (from God’s Story for Me: Bible Storybook) leaves most of the violence out and is appropriate for younger children.

A man was walking a long way. While he walked, some men grabbed him, hurt him and took all his money. The man lay hurting on the ground. He couldn’t even get up! But soon, an important leader walked by! The hurt man lay there, waiting for help. But the leader DIDN’T help! He hurried away. The hurt man groaned. He hurt all OVER! But now ANOTHER man came near. He stopped and LOOKED at the hurt man. The hurt man lay there, waiting for help. But the second man hurried away, too! The hurt man could only lie on the ground. But then he heard a clippety-clop sound. A donkey stopped. Another man got off. THIS man put medicine on the man’s sores. He bandaged the man’s cuts. He put the hurt man on the donkey and brought him to a safe place. He paid money to be sure the hurt man would be taken care of. The man on the donkey SHOWED God’s love. He was kind to the hurt man!”

For older elementary and teenagers: Feel free to use whatever Bible translation with which you are most comfortable. If you are looking for one that’s easy to understand, The Message paraphrases the Bible using everyday language. NIV and New Living Translation are also good choices for understandable translations.

Discussion Questions

• Ask your child to think of a time when he/she made fun of someone because of what he/she wore, where he/she lived, or how he/she looked. [Variation: You may also want to ask them if there was a time when they were made fun of because of these things]
• Think of a time when you knew you should be nice to someone, but you decided not to be.
• Think of a time when, instead of admitting you did something wrong, you tried to get away with it.

Action

Find ways for your family to show kindness to others this week: do something nice for the neighbor that nobody likes to talk to, seek out others who seem to be on the fringes of life, invite a new family over for dinner, volunteer at a homeless shelter or food pantry, etc.

Pray

• Ask God to help you and your family see that everyone is our “neighbor”.
• Ask God for courage to help you reach out to outcasts or those on the fringes of life.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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