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.