Once upon a time, a young man from a certain country and culture was walking home around 6:00pm after a long day's work. This was the same road he always walked, one that he enjoyed because of its route straight through the main sites of his diverse little town.
As he rounded the street corner, a few criminals darted out from the alleyway and jumped the young man. They took his wallet, ripped off his watch, tore his clothes, and beat him mercilessly. The young man was bleeding terribly, desperately in need of medical attention. The criminals drug him off the sidewalk, limp and broken, and leaned him against the wall of the alleyway entrance before running off around the corner unnoticed.
Hours passed by as the now-unconscious young man continued to bleed, seemingly invisible to the bustling evening. As the clock struck 8:30 pm, the local pastor left the nearby church-building in a hurry, seemingly late for something. He was trotting down the sidewalk when he noticed the beaten young man. Looking at his watch, he decided to trot across the street to avoid the responsibility--plus, it looked to the pastor like the young man had probably deserved the beating. "Probably a criminal anyways. Someone else will surely stop to help him, I just can't right now or I'll be late," the pastor thought to himself.
Thirty minutes later, an elder from the church, running a late-night errand to pick up a few things for his family breakfast the next morning, quickly turned the corner. He noticed the hurt young man in the alleyway and felt a slight tug at his heart--but it was already getting darker. "I really need to get these things from the store so that my family traveling in is not upset at our lack of preparation for them tomorrow. Somebody else will notice him, I'm sure of it," the elder thought to himself. He crossed the street, trying not to make any eye-contact with the bleeding young man.
Around 10pm the young man was within moments of losing his life. Finally, a certain man from a differing country and culture (one which had actually experienced much conflict throughout the years with the country and culture of the young man), rounded the corner on his way to the convenience store. He noticed the blood on the ground, and saw the bruised ribs of the man lying in the alleyway. It was clear this young man was about to die if someone did not help him. "It doesn't matter if our backgrounds have clashed in the past -- I must help this young man. If I do not help, this young man will surely die. I must," the man thought to himself.
He gently lifted the broken young man off the ground. Slowly regaining consciousness, the young man could barely walk, leaning most of his weight on the mysterious helper. The helping man welcomed the broken man to drape his bloody arm around his shoulder, and they limped together to the local inn about 3 blocks away. Trying not to make too much of a scene, the helping man paid the surprised desk-attendant for a room for 3 nights and took the key. They limped down the hallway to the room; the young man was losing strength quickly. The helping man took him to the bath tub and began washing his wounds with soapy water, and pressing wash-cloths into the wounds still bleeding. Once the bleeding had stopped, the helping man wrapped the young man's wounds with paper-towel. After laying the young man in the bed, the helping man left the room and went back to the front desk.
"Please take care of this man for me for the next 3 days. Be sure to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner ready for him, and please call a doctor for him in the morning. I will return and pay you for whatever is left that he owes, no matter the expense," the helping man said. The desk-attendant agreed, and the helping man quietly went on his way.
Do you recognize this story? It is the story of the Good Samaritan, retold in a modern context. In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus responds with the original story to a lawyer who was seeking to justify himself and his lack of love and compassion, asking "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus makes it clear what He expects of his followers in this regard. This is what compassion looks like.
Throughout scripture, there are innumerable examples of both Jesus himself and His disciples nursing and healing the broken, encouraging the weak, blessing the downtrodden, feeding the hungry, and more. As Christ-followers, we are to be known by our compassion for others.
In 1 John 3:16-18 it says, "By this we know love, that He laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
Here at IDES, we seek to exemplify this Core Value in all that we do. Compassion is at the root of our work in meeting physical and spiritual needs of suffering people throughout the world in the name of Jesus Christ. Compassion puts others' needs above its own. Compassion seeks to serve. Compassion goes above and beyond the call of duty. This is one thing we want IDES to be known for. Your support and your generosity make fulfilling this mission possible.
We pray that you found this devotional encouraging, and that you will be inspired to continue being compassionate in Jesus' name.
Next week, we will continue our devotional series on the Core Values of IDES by discussing Generosity.
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director at IDES