“He has told you, O people, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
In our desire to live for God, we sometimes spend our efforts in the wrong places. Jesus told the following story to show where our priorities ought to be.
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him, and left him lying beside the road, 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. Likewise, a Levite passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, when he saw the man, took pity on him and looked after his needs (Luke 10:30-37).
Were the priest and the Levite hard-hearted men? Not necessarily. They were busy people doing God’s work in the temple. If the injured man happened to die while they were handling him, they would be considered unclean for seven days. According to their law, they would not be able to mix with people until they were ceremonially cleansed on the seventh day (Numbers 19:16-21).
The priest and the Levite had important religious duties to perform. They simply couldn’t afford to be out of commission for a whole week.
How often do we hurry past a person in need because we have important work to do? We rush past the homeless person. We can’t stop to listen to someone whose heart is breaking. We can’t find time to visit the lonely shut-in.
Jesus, in telling the story of the good Samaritan, taught that people come before programs. He demonstrated this principle in His own ministry. He was never too busy to stop what he was doing to reach out to someone in need.
In our effort to “work for God,” let us always put persons ahead of programs. That is God’s way. He wants to show His love in a tangible way–through us.
Dear God, I confess I’m guilty. Often I think my plans are more important than Your plans. Forgive me. I want to be available so You can love people through me.