“Don’t get dirty!” I remember my mother saying that to me when I was a child. I think most of the time it was when I was already cleaned up and we were going somewhere. No doubt to church…and I wonder if we had seen someone in need on our way to church would we have stopped? Would we have changed a tire? Would we have taken the time and gotten ourselves dirty and then walk in late to sit down in the second pew from the back?
The Samaritan in Jesus’ story in Luke 10 gets himself dirty. He is a traveller and he happens upon a stripped, beaten up, half dead man. The religious leaders passed on by. But the Samaritan stops and gets his hands dirty, bloody. The text says:
He took pity on him.
He went to him.
He bandaged his wounds.
He poured on oil and wine.
He put the man on his own donkey
He brought him to an inn.
He took care of him.
He took out two coins.
He gave them to the innkeeper.
He said…”when I return I will reimburse you for extra expenses.”
In three verses (Luke 10:33-35) there are 14 verbs and derivatives. People who get their hands dirty are people of action. They don’t stand around and hope for and/or wait for someone else to do the work. They get in and do it. They are not concerned about getting dirty, they are concerned about taking care of people.
And that, according to Jesus, is what neighbors do.
Never mind that the person in need is a different race from you. Or gender. Or religion. Or sexual preference. Or age. Or anything else. See the need and take action.
It’s pretty simple, isn’t it. Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus ends the story by saying…”Go and do likewise.”
Good words for us today.