In the LA Times back in 2004 there was a story about a man who risked his life to protect someone else. In the article it said, “The night Studio City resident Rene Navarro went to the aid of his neighbor, actress Anna Nicole Smith, he had hoped to persuade the man trying to enter her house to leave. Instead, Smith’s 6-foot-5, 230-pound former boyfriend turned stalker punched, kicked and threatened to kill Navarro. Though the assault left Navarro, 59, with broken fingers, head injuries and other wounds, his willingness to intervene convinced L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley to make him one of three recipients of the Courageous Citizen Awards in a ceremony Wednesday at the Pasadena Hilton.” When Navarro went in to the situation he knew that he would be at risk for interfering. It did not stop him. He showed compassion and care for his neighbor. However, later Navarro was recognized for his courageous act. Although recognition for compassionate acts does not always occur, it is a great encouragement when they do. Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan to give recognition to the fact that God appreciates and recognizes self-sacrificing acts of compassion to others. Read Luke 10: 30 – 37.
30 Jesus took up [the question] and said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw [the man], he had compassion. 34 He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”
Jesus told the expert in the law and the others who were listening that they needed to go and do the same. Although the good Samaritan sacrificed time and money and was not publicly recognized for his good deed, Jesus shows us that God is pleased when we respond to opportunity to help others. What an encouragement to know that God is watching and is pleased by our choice to respond to these type of opportunities to help others.
How many teachers have you heard say, “There is no dumb question”? Or they say, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Someone else in class may be wondering the same thing.” It is true that you cannot learn unless you start listening to what you are being taught and then asking questions in the spots you don’t understand. Yet so many will still sit back in class and be afraid to ask because they don’t want to appear dumb. It’s not that you are dumb; it is just that you haven’t learned that subject yet. No human being born as a baby comes out knowing everything. It is a process. We miss opportunities to learn by being embarrassed, scared or stubborn. Without learning certain things we are probably missing further opportunities that would come because of our knowledge. The next step to learning is the stage of wisdom. Wisdom comes when we gain knowledge and then apply it and learn further through the experience. There is nothing sadder than to first not seek knowledge or worse yet not to use that knowledge once it is learned. We gain no wisdom and use no wisdom in our lives when we do that. Once such example is found in Luke 10: 25 – 29.
25 Just then an expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the law?” He asked him. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. 28 “You’ve answered correctly,” He told him. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
This gentleman was expert in the law of the Lord and he saw Jesus as a teacher. He saw the opportunity to confirm that he was going to have eternal life. Jesus tested his knowledge with a question. The gentleman correctly answered. He had learned well. Jesus, however, saw down in to his heart. He knew that knowledge was not being applied. The man then wanted to try to prove he was good to go by asking Jesus a question. Jesus told him the parable of the good Samaritan. At the end Jesus shared some wisdom with him. He told him to do the same as the good Samaritan. In other words, Jesus knew that the man was not applying his knowledge and that he lacked wisdom. With Jesus’ command the man was given the opportunity to gain wisdom.
It was good the man appeared to be seeking Jesus’ wisdom with his question, but more important would be that he did not pass up the opportunity to apply the wisdom. We need to do the same. We need to spend time with Jesus in the Word and prayer and then actually apply what we learn. Too many times we go to church and hear a message and return home to re-enter our same routines and never applying what we learn. Remember to take the opportunity to seek wisdom and to apply it.