In the first post on “Full-time or Fool-time Ministry”, we discussed why Joseph’s and Mary’s ability and competence for adaptability was one of the determining criteria for granting them the honour of being earthly parents of Jesus. We also discussed how capacity and the ability to manage little opportunities would, to a large extent, determine your level of operation. The second post was on “money and message”, and “faith and wealth”.
After the seventy-two other disciples came from their two-by-two outreach, Jesus added another dimension to ministry and eternal life. The disciples operated at the anointing level and deliverance level, which Jesus commended, but the lawyer asked about inheriting eternal life.
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 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, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:30-37.
In the Parable of The Good Samaritan, there are some key issues we must not ignore:
- Why did the priest cross over to the other side?
- Was he a wicked person?
No! He wasn’t a wicked person. He just did not have the capacity to render help and show mercy; mercy is a restorative ability, not mere sympathy. His travel budget was very slim without any to spare on an unknown man. He was on a tight schedule because he was not self-employed; he had no time for himself. He did not have what would be needed to meet the needs of the man even though he was a priest and was anointed.
The temple attendant also came and walked over on the other side. It was the same reason, but he was more financially handicapped or “moneycapped”.
However, the Samaritan was a good model of the 21st century evangelism. The Samaritan was loaded with stuff to stop suffering. He had olive oil, wine, and bandage; he also had skills. He had time because he was rich and self-employed. Remember, the man was naked. Do you think he put him on his donkey naked? No! He had spare clothes in his luggage. His own donkey means there was another donkey that carried the stuff to stop suffering.
I can imagine that the priest and the Levite were trekking. They were incapacitated from showing mercy by lack of resources. Like Joseph, husband to Mary, mother of Jesus, a hotel was the choice place to put the injured man, not a synagogue.
Why was he not suspected? He looked responsible and they knew his worth. Why were the innkeepers not afraid of him? They could smell the capacity index to handle the fallout of any eventuality. Moreover, he was a regular guest. He paid in international currency just like Joseph, husband of Mary, had international currency at home at night. He brought out two days wages as a deposit. According to bible scholars, that amount can keep a man in the inn for two months. He said he would pay any balance left when he comes back. From where? I suspect from an international business trip.
If the three men, that is the Samaritan, the Priest, and the Levite are pastors or Christians in the same town, say ether Jericho or Jerusalem. Which of the churches would the man attend? Levite Church, Priest Church, or Samaritan church? I don’t need your answer; I know it already.
From my experience in many poor countries where I go to do missionary work, one of their greatest challenges is material and financial needs. Tithes and offerings will not be enough to face the challenges of ministry in the 21st century. We need a church that has a vibrant economy.
God Bless You.