Our church has a program that I really love.
The program allows students from fourth grade up to volunteer in the Sunday School classrooms of younger students. They interact with the kids, help with crafts, sing songs, and basically just assist the teacher with whatever he or she needs. My two oldest kids both volunteer.
I love this program because it reinforces what we are teaching our kids at home: your church family is your responsibility.
I don’t want to be raising a bunch of Christian consumers, do you? I want my kids to understand that when God puts a need in front of them, it is their responsibility to respond to that need if they are able.
It occurred to me that that sense of responsibility was exactly what was missing from the priest and Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told in Luke 10.
After the poor man in the parable had been robbed and beaten, both a priest and a Levite saw him lying in his nearly dead state. It wasn’t that they weren’t aware of the problem, it wasn’t that they didn’t have the ability to help the man. The reason that they crossed to the other side of the road and kept right on walking is that they didn’t see that man as their responsibility.
The Good Samaritan saw what the priest and Levites saw, he had the same ability to help that they had. The difference was that the Samaritan knew that this half-dead man was his responsibility.
This sense of godly responsibility is the difference between people who disagreed with slavery and those who worked to end it. It is the difference between the people who disagreed with Nazi ideals during World War II and those who hid Jewish people in their homes. It is the difference between people who disagree with abortion and those giving vulnerable women the help that they need to choose life for their child.
It is also the difference between complaining about the leadership at our church and consistently praying for it. It is the difference between knowing that Vacation Bible School needs more workers and actually signing up to help. It is the difference between bemoaning that untidy lawn down the street and knocking on our neighbor’s door and asking if we can cut their grass. (Just to bless them.)
Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan as a direct response to a man asking, “Who is my neighbor?” What he really wanted to know was: Who is my responsibility?
Jesus made it clear that our responsibility lies in the needs that He puts right in front of us.