In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.' "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." -Luke 10:30-33, 36, 37
Everywhere we go we will find people in need. Some will be in need of the basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. Others will have emotional needs such as the need for security, comfort, encouragement, and kindness. In either case, we often encounter people who are at the end of their rope and wondering how much longer they can hang on. They are all around us, and we can begin to feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to help them all. But we can help some, right?
Jesus demonstrated that we are called to stop and lend a helping hand whenever possible. The ways this can be accomplished are numerous. We can volunteer in a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, hospital, crisis center, or local food bank. These organizations are always in need of volunteers to assist in the work. Those we meet from day to day can also be in need of a kind and encouraging word. Consider that if you or I meet someone today who is in need, and we offer a word of hope, this just might mean the difference between life and death to the person. He or she may be starting to believe that life is no longer worth living, and by an act of kindness the person might be swayed toward giving life another chance.
The beaten and helpless man in the parable of the Good Samaritan was passed over by some who would have been considered religious, but a Samaritan, someone who was despised by the people of Jesus’ day, had compassion on the man, stopped, and helped him. As we go throughout our days, the Lord will give us guidance and discernment as to who we are to help and how. At the very least we can offer a kind word, a smile, compassion, prayer, and encouragement. And when we get involved in the community with organizations designed to help others, we find that many people can be assisted.
Let us not pass by those on need, but rather let’s reach out in Jesus’ name. The troubled soul finds comfort in Jesus, and we find peace in doing what Jesus said: “Go and do likewise.”