Confessions of a List-maker (Luke 10-11; John 10:22-42)

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. (Luke 10:31-32)

I’m curious if you’ve ever done this before.  Have you ever seen a need and realized that you really want to have nothing to do with it?  So instead of coming up with reasons why you should help, you instead make a list of reasons why you shouldn’t.

The truth is, I’ve gotten to be a pretty good list maker over the years as I come up with why I’m too busy or why this is a bad use of my time or why this shouldn’t really apply to me.  Instead of seeing a need and thinking, “I can help meet that need,” I make a list of excuses.  And when I choose to do so I make myself out to be like the Levite and the Priest in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  They made lists, too.

Remarkably, the Samaritan (who was the anticipated villain in the story) didn’t rationalize and didn’t come up with reasons of why he couldn’t help.  Instead of making excuses, he saw a need and realized that he could do something about it… and he did.  Not only did he step in and offer immediate first aid, he provided sacrificially for the man who had been attacked by the robbers.  His generosity didn’t end with an immediate rescue – he went in it for the long haul and paid the innkeeper money to look after a complete stranger!

The truth is we can’t help every single person in the world who is needy.  There are too many needs and not enough resources.  BUT, we can help some.  What are you doing to help someone in need?  You don’t have to help everyone, but where are you making a difference in someone else’s life?  If you don’t, then you’ll end up simply making lists like the majority of other people, and you’ll miss out on how God wants to use you to impact someone else’s life.

Lord, I’m a great list-maker.  I can come up with all kinds of excuses for why someone else is more qualified to help than I, and have been guilty of failing to use my resources to bless others.  Help me not to do so any longer.  Let me remember that my time is only a gift that comes from You – just like my resources.  Give me eyes to see those situations where I can get involved, and then help me to generously and courageously do so.

About Seth

Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.

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