I recently read of an individual who decided to move outside his comfort zone to live a life that looks like Jesus. Josh is 20 years old and had befriended an elderly homeless woman. One night she got beat up pretty badly, and Josh offered to take her to a friend’s house where she could stay for awhile. The woman wasn’t comfortable leaving her usual surroundings. So what did Josh do? He didn’t walk away thinking he had done what he could. He didn’t berate her for not accepting help. No, he decided to start sleeping on the street next to her to provide protection. What a beautiful picture of Jesus! Josh went to where the hurting person was rather than wait for them to come to him.
How often do we offer token help to those in need and then walk away rationalizing that we have done all we could? It’s not easy to move into situations where we find ourselves uncomfortable. It’s easy for me to write a check to help someone in need. I love helping others. But it’s far more difficult for me to invest my time. Society has conditioned us to always be in a hurry, and I have been sucked into that trap. Perhaps you can relate.
When we read the story of “The Good Samaritan” in the Bible (Luke 10:25-37) the priest and the Levite passed by the wounded man not because they were afraid of how much money it would cost them. They walked by because they didn’t want to invest the time. They didn’t want to find themselves in an uncomfortable situation, wrapped up in the messiness of a relationship. If it had simply been a matter of writing a check for someone else to take care of the man, they might well have done that. Keith Green used to say, “It’s so easy to write a check; but God can’t cash out of state checks in Heaven. He wants you.”
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving money to help those in need. In fact it is admirable and necessary. The danger comes in using this as a shield against investing our lives into that of another. People all around us do need our financial help, but more importantly, they need our love. Money will never fix what’s broken in their lives; it will only alleviate the temporary pain of their circumstances. The Samaritan invested both time and money into the life of the man lying on the side of the road. He went to where he was to bring him to a place that would be safe. He stepped out of his comfort zone. He slowed down and interrupted his own life to demonstrate compassion to another.
Would you do what Josh did and lie down on the street next to a homeless woman? Would you put your schedule on hold to take the time to love someone in need? Our faith in God requires action to demonstrate that Jesus is truly Lord of our lives (James 2:14-26). We need to be looking for opportunities to love people as Jesus did. We need to lie down on the street like Josh. This is how we identify with Christ, by putting aside our agendas to serve the needs of another. This is how we live like Jesus.