The usual lesson that we take away from the Parable of the Good Samaritan is how we should be a good neighbor to the vulnerable ones we encounter on our way. However, if we take another look, there may be another feature of vulnerability in the parable.
We know of the unfriendly relationship between the Jews and Samaritans. To allow oneself to receive help, especially from those we consider different from us or even “lesser” than us, takes humility and acceptance of our need of others.
It seems that loving our neighbor also requires that—exposing ourselves, letting others know of our weakness, and receiving support. Imagine how strange it would have been had the injured man said, “Oh my, you’re a Samaritan. I cannot receive help from you!”
Loving involves a two-way process of giving and receiving. Even though we have been called to be ministers and leaders, we cannot always be strong. We cannot always give.
I can recall that in my visits to the homes of Child Survival Program families, I brought home with me a bag of vegetables from their backyard, tasty rice cakes, beaded bracelets, inspiring stories of resilience, lessons on contentment, uplifting prayers, and laughter, among other things.
Who do we consider the “beneficiaries” of our assistance? The children we serve? The families living in poor communities? Our church partners? Our teammates? Is it possible that they too can be a source of help, support, assistance, or even insight, and that we might be the beneficiaries sometimes?
Let us honor one another by also allowing ourselves to be on the receiving end. Unless we are able to admit that we, too, are weak and in need of help, we might miss out on what others can offer us.
“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 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.” —Luke 10:33–34, NIV
Prayer: Father in heaven, may we experience genuine fellowship and community as we allow ourselves not only to give love and compassion but to humbly receive the same. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rowena Magpoc works in the Philippines as a Training and Support Supervisor.
Read all the One in Spirit devotionals.