For much of my life, I served my own needs and cared only about me! I was selfish to the core and honestly, I did not even know it. In other words, I was blind to my own sinful condition. One day in my early twenties, I was seeking God and I remember thinking in my mind about something I had to do, and these thoughts about “ME, MYSELF and I” were consuming my inner conscience, when all of a sudden, God showed me how self-centered I was. My life revolved around me. I rarely considered the needs of others, especially if it meant sacrificing something personally I was doing to benefit them. The Bible says,
“Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. “And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. “Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. “On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same” (Luke 10:31-37 NAS).
This passage describes how two religious leaders of the day refused to help someone in desperate need that had crossed their paths. Instead of stopping to address his wounds, they walked on by as if they had never seen him. Maybe they felt like they had to be on time to a business meeting or they did not have the energy or resources to help. Whatever their excuses were, God was not pleased with them. A third man came walking down the road and noticed the same injured man, but the Good Samaritan took pity on him and stopped to help. It was an inconvenience to the Samaritan because he was on a journey, but the Bible says he helped bandaged him up and took him to a hotel to stay until he got well. Not to mention, the Samaritan paid for all the injured man’s expenses. Now that was being a neighbor to his fellow man. How often do we come across people in our world, our community, our neighborhood or workplace and like the religious men, ignore the very people God wants us to help. Instead of reaching out to them, we make excuses why we can’t lend a hand.
I am reminded of a story that took place in Atlanta, Ga at a church I attended. A good friend of mine was on her way to church, when her car went out of control due to a hard rain and she hit a telephone pole. Needless to say, she did not make it to church that morning. Several cars drove on by without stopping because it was pouring down rain, but one gentleman decided to stop and help. What my friend did not know was that this man was a preacher in the community and he was on his way to preach at our church at the second and third service that morning. He could have made excuses like: “I am supposed to go preach the word of God and set others free. I cannot stop. I will be late. After all, I am a guest preacher and they might not ever invite me back to speak.” Or he might have said, “There are many drivers on the road, one of them will stop to help. I cannot stop or I will be late for my speaking engagement.” I was amazed at his actions. The preacher stopped, got out of his car in the pouring rain and went to help my friend who was shaken up pretty badly. He missed both services that morning because he was a true “neighbor” to my friend. God was smiling on him that day because he offered assistance to someone who crossed his path over his own religious obligations. The Bible says,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35)
God is looking for people who will lay down their lives for the good of others and see them succeed. We are to love others the way God loved us and by this everyone will know that we are followers of Christ. This preacher exemplified what it meant to love God and his neighbor. Don’t get discouraged if you have been a person who has lived for “self” most of your life. The good news is that you can start today and ask God to help you be others centered and see the way He sees. God can open your eyes to people in your everyday life that need His love and you can be His chosen instrument to make a difference in their world. Will you step up to the challenge? The Bible says,
“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9a New American Standard).
Become a servant for others and watch God do extraordinary things in your life. It is amazing that when we surrender our lives to God, He can empower us for His service. In my journey as a Christian, I began to realize I needed to change and be others centered. However, on my own I was powerless to do so. I asked God for His help and little by little He empowered me to walk by the Spirit of God instead of my fleshly impulses. At times opportunity would present itself for me to help someone, but it was at an inconvenient time. As I learned to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit, He empowered me to accomplish His assignment, even though my flesh was telling me to go do what I wanted. I definitely have a ways to go, but I am not the person I once was. Just today, I was answering the phones for my brother’s company even though I do not work for him, so that he can be out getting work done for clients. When we spend our lives helping others, we are sowing seed that will one day come back into our lives. We reap what we sow. Will you begin sowing seed that is pleasing to God? Look for ways to bless others and when an opportunity crosses your path, be open to God so that He can accomplish something great through you!