There have been times when I have needed help because I had had a problem with the car. Twice I had had problems with a tyre and someone has stopped and changed it for me. There have been other times when it has not started and I have had to push it out of the way of other people. It is surprising how when a woman on her own is seen pushing a car (i.e. people notice that there is a problem) that someone, or even a few people come over and help.
Not everyone stops to help but the main reason why they don’t is that they think that they do not have anything to offer. They may be older than me or not as strong as me or too busy and distracted by a horde of screaming offspring. The willingness is there but they just do not have the ability to help.
What resources did the Good Samaritan need?
Lets look at what he did. According to Luke 10 verses 34 and 35 after he took pity on him, he went to him and did four things.
- He bandaged the man’s wounds after pouring oil and wine on them.
- He put the man on his own donkey.
- He took him to an inn and took care of him
- He paid the innkeeper and promised to return in case what he had given him was not enough.
So what resources did the Good Samaritan need? If you are on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem where do you get bandages from? Did he use his own clean clothes? Did he unwrap the turban off his own head and use that? Did he have a spare clean cloth to use as a turban at journey’s end? He must have used something he had with him because the man had been stripped of all his clothes so had nothing to use to help himself.
Where did the oil and wine come from? Surely they did not appear from underneath a rock. The Good Samaritan must have been carrying them with him. He had brought them with him for his own use and like the cloth he used to bandage the wounds there was some cost involved in using them to help this man.
If he put the man on his own donkey then how did the Good Samaritan get to the inn. Presumably he got off the donkey and put the man on it. He had got the donkey because he did not want to walk and here he was putting someone else on his donkey.
After walking a bit I suspect that the Good Samaritan was rather relieved to find the inn. Here was a chance to rest after his long walk. Here was a chance for him to get help and support. But what does it say he did? Luke says that he took care of the man.
The Good Samaritan did not totally change his plans and end his journey at the inn. He carried on his journey but before he did he made sure that the man he had been caring for had the help that he needed. He paid the innkeeper and went on his way.
The Good Samaritan needed quite few resources to help this man didn’t he? Thankfully he had them and was willing to share what he had to help someone else.
What if there was a shortage of resources?
This story has a happy ending because the Good Samaritan did have the resources to help. After all the intent of the story was to show that even the most unexpected people could treat other people kindly.
What though if he had not had what he had needed. Say he had no idea how to dress the wounds. He would need some knowledge on how to dress them in such a way that the man’s condition improved rather than deteriorated.
Where you you get the knowledge, understanding and wisdom to help others? Today you might go to a First Aid class or check the First Aid app on your phone or even do a google search for advice. That might sound a bit like overkill but you cannot truly help people without knowing what to do for the best.
Part of preparing for any kind of helping ministry is learning the things that you need to know. Then you have to understand when to use this technique and when to use that one. Only then will have the wisdom to truly help others. This is why training courses and reading how to books in the area where you think you are called to help others is essential.
He also had the practical resources and tools that he could use. Well you cannot run a craft group without having a room with tables and chairs. You cannot teach without handouts and a means of sharing your ideas in class with the learners such as a whiteboard.
Another thing that he had was money. He would have needed money to buy the resources but after doing that he had enough to spare to give the innkeeper. You see if he had bought into the poverty mentality seen in some churches today, then he quite simply would not have had the money to buy the wine or the oil that he used. Nor would he have had a donkey to anything to give the innkeeper.
How does this apply to us?
To me there is a second message here. Not only do we need to be ready to help those in need but we need to be resourced and equipped to do so as well. That takes work and it takes preparation.
So what are you going to do to prepare yourself so that you too can help others? Is it as simple as doing a First Aid course and carrying a First Aid kit in the car? Is it as complex as spending years training to be a doctor and then being on call to respond to emergency call outs or visit disaster zones?
We are all called to help others some way some how. It is just a question of working out who we are going to serve and how then being prepared when the time comes to do something. It is only when we are prepared and gathered the resources that we need that we can step into that calling.