Thursday, January 27, 2011

Be the Somebody

In most congregations, there may be one person or even a small group of people who have a very special spiritual gift. This person (or group) has the keen ability to both observe and point out needs. Meeting the need, however, falls just outside of their area of giftedness. If you are wondering if you are in this group, just think back to the number of times you have shared the phrase, "Somebody needs to . . ." with your pastor, but then didn't volunteer to be the somebody. Variations of the phrase include "something needs to be done about . . .," "someone should . . .," or my personal favorite "I know of a need that hasn't been met."

I woke up pondering this special group of people this morning. Not because we have any at CrossPoint, but more because I was thinking about Luke 10. One of the most popular children's stories of all time is recorded in Luke 10: The Good Samaritan. I found myself meditating on how the Samaritan saw the need and met the need rather than saw the need and pointed it out for someone else to meet. The story would obviously be quite different if the Samaritan had traveled all the way to Jericho and told some of the folks in town, "There's a guy beat up pretty bad on the road to Jerusalem. I'm not sure he's going to make it. Somebody ought to help him."

Jesus is trying to emphasize in the parable what it means to love one's neighbor. If we take clues from the Samaritan, it means seeing a need in front of you and being willing to sacrifice your own resources to meet the need if necessary (no matter who the person is). The Samaritan sacrificed his time. It would have been a lot quicker trip if he didn't stop to help. The Samaritan sacrificed his oil and wine. Unless there was an oil and wine stand next to a lemonade stand on the way to Jericho, then the Samaritan used his own oil and wine to care for the wounded man. The Samaritan sacrificed his energy. He placed the man on the donkey, which means the Samaritan most likely walked. The Samaritan sacrificed a good night's rest. The text clearly says that the Samaritan took care of the man once he got him to the inn. The Samaritan sacrificed his money. He gave the inn keeper 2 denarii to meet the physical needs of the injured man and he promised to meet any other bills.

How many of you think the man who was beaten and robbed was grateful the Samaritan was not just a pointer-outer, but rather a meet-the-needer? How many of us are grateful that Christ was not just a pointer-outer? Without doubt, Christ not only saw our greatest need, but met it. How hopeless we would be if Christ only pointed out our sin, but did nothing to help us overcome it. How hopeless we would be if Christ only pointed out our need to be reconciled to God, but did nothing to help us achieve it.

Wouldn't it be cool if our congregations were full of people who not only pointed out problems, but worked to provide solutions? Wouldn't it be really cool if folks in our community sang "Like a good neighbor, (insert church name here) is there?" Don't seek "somebody" today, be the somebody. Whatever needs are brought in front of you today, be the somebody.