Thursday, August 29, 2013

Football and Being a Good Samaritan

We Kansas State football Wildcat fans are getting pumped for the opening game tomorrow night. . .in spite of the extremely hot temperatures.  The high in Manhattan tomorrow is supposed to be 100 degrees, and we expect that the temperature at the time of kick-off will still be hovering in the low 90s.  It could be brutal, just as it was during last year's season opener.  A family member got so overheated during the game, she thought she was going to pass out.  She made her way to the ladies' restroom to get some water and relief in the air-conditioned room.  Still feeling sick, she ended up lying down on the concrete floor in the restroom until she felt better.  The sad part about this situation was that women came and went, and not one of them offered assistance or inquired about her well-being!  It's natural to respond with indignation at such behavior toward a fellow human being.  Just like the indignation we feel when we read the account of the Good Samaritan found in Luke chapter 10.  But, if we are honest with ourselves, there have been many times in our lives when we've played the part of the priest and the Levite, rather than the Good Samaritan.  

How we demonstrate love toward others reflects our theology.  Jesus, quoting Deuteronomy, taught, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:37-39)  Only a person who truly loves God with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength is able to love his neighbor as himself.  We can never love the Lord perfectly as required in this commandment, but there is One who has. . .Jesus Christ.  He fulfilled that commandment for us.  If we trust in what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross, we receive forgiveness for our sins and are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works in the lives of Christians so that we reflect the character of Christ, including his selfless love and mercy. As we come in contact with others in need, how do we respond?  Are we too busy to be bothered? Do we believe that it's not our responsibility?  Is a football game more important than caring for a sick "neighbor"?  Or, are we compassionate and show the same mercy we have received?  If we pass by people in need, we are demonstrating a lack of appreciation for love and mercy we have received in Christ.  

1 comment:

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