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The Good Samaritan, revisited

Light for the Way seriesWe invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

By Optage Hospice Chaplain Keith Falk

“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 10:36-37, NIV

The Good Samaritan is a story with which most people are familiar. More often than not, we understand the point is that I am to help everyone in need, because everyone is my neighbor.
 
That certainly isn’t a poor interpretation – but it also isn’t the only interpretation. Our cultural circumstances may impact how we understand the meaning of the words of Jesus. In some other cultures, the parable of the Good Samaritan is not about us helping others, but rather about us receiving help from others, even from unlikely sources, because everyone is our neighbor.
 
In other words, what if you put yourself in the position of the person who was beaten and robbed on the side of the road, needing help from someone you would never talk to or think could even be in a position to help you, as opposed to putting yourself in the position of the Good Samaritan who reached out to help?

At Presbyterian Homes & Services, we are servants. We are helpers. Yet one of the greatest gifts we can give others is to receive help. What greater signs of honor and respect can we give residents or clients than to receive with gratitude and humility whatever aid they wish to give? Holding open a door? Offering a cup of water? Dispensing wisdom to us?
 
If the parable of the Good Samaritan is about receiving help from unlikely people as well as helping everyone, then we can joyfully receive from those we serve.
 
Chaplain Keith FalkRev. Keith Falk has served as a chaplain with Optage Hospice since January 2022. An ordained Lutheran pastor, he has worked as a chaplain in hospice and at the VA in St. Cloud, Minn., the past two and a half years and served in congregational settings in Ohio and Oklahoma for 13 years prior to that. He and his wife Abby have 5 teenagers at home, which is enough to keep them busy.

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

Find more in the Light for the Way series:

Sow God’s Word
Trust in the Lord with…
Get to know us: a Christian ministry
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series
 

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