He was minding his own business, meandering down the road between Jerusalem and Samaria. When he got as far as Jericho, he discovered a man who had been beaten, stripped, robbed, and left for dead by thieves. He had noticed two men of the clergy pass the man by on their journey as he approached. The first one moved over to the other side of the road. The second actually looked at the man; maybe a quasi inspection. But then he likewise made haste to get to the other side.
The man from Samaria then arrived at the place where the injured man was lying, but this man didn’t ignore the problems of the poor unfortunate soul. Rather, he took him to a local inn, using his own animal for the man to ride on, and bandaged his wounds. He made provision for the man, making sure even future expenses would be covered. And then he went on his way to conclude his own affairs.
The robbers saw this man as a nobody; a worthless human being. The priest and Levite saw him as a bother and an interruption. They weren’t about to let this poor, sad man divert them from their “more important” religious duties. The Samaritan saw him as a neighbor to be served.
Our view of the value of mankind will determine how we might respond to those whose lives have been wrecked by the enemy of our soul and life’s circumstances. Are we too busy with our “religious” activities to even notice that person in our midst who needs a neighbor to reach out to them? This guy stopped what he was doing. He actually put his agenda on hold temporarily and offered himself to his fellow man. He also disregarded the cost when offering to help the man. He actually gave the innkeeper some money and told him that if the expenses exceeded that, he would pay the difference upon his return.
Of course this is a parable told by Jesus and most likely wasn’t true. But then again, is it possible this story repeats itself many times a day, with real characters in real crises? There are several lessons we can learn from this story, but the main lesson I am interested in here is that we not devalue human beings to the point we disregard their worth. Each person breathing was framed in the image of God, and therefore demands our serious respect and concern. Let us not fall into the trap of diminishing the importance and worth of any human being on the altar of what might seem to make sense. God made = God valued.