Interruptions

In this week’s parable, I think we can assume that the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan were all busy people. They weren’t just taking a stroll on the 18-mile road from Jerusalem to Jericho. They were all probably people with responsibilities and a sense of purpose about their journey. 

While Jesus was walking on earth (and occasionally on water), a priest was one who offered gifts to God and sacrifices for the sins of his people. The Levite would have been one who performed services associated with public worship – musicians, gatekeepers, Temple officials, craftsmen, etc. And the Samaritan (a foreigner) was probably a successful man on his way to handle some important business.

The two “religious” travelers were perhaps so focused on their religious duties that something totally slipped their minds – an Old Testament passage that should have been quite familiar to them: “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). On the other hand, the Samaritan showed compassion. He recognized that a neighbor is actually anyone God puts in your path. 

So… why do you think Jesus portrayed the “religious” people as the ones who showed no compassion? Do you think sometimes even we who are Christ followers get so busy with “the Lord’s work” that we forget the possibility that the Lord’s work just might involve loving our neighbor.

There is a lesson to be learned here about being available or at least interruptible. In a time of endless to-do lists, iPhone reminders, and scheduled out daily planners, we might conclude that we, like the religious leaders, have too many important responsibilities to be interrupted.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart; but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21) God has a way of interrupting us with His plans and His purpose. 

Let’s ask ourselves two questions:
  • Do you consider yourself (and your work) too important to be interrupted?
  • Do your face and body language indicate to others that you are not interruptible?

Let’s ask the questions another way:
  • Does your face reflect the love of Christ – so that people see you as approachable, interruptible?
  • Can you see that interruptions just might be opportunities?

Father, You know our world is full of busy people – and we’re busy too. But my prayer is this: help me to be busy about the things that are Your priorities – and that includes loving my neighbor. Help me notice and respond to my neighbors’ needs with love, generosity, and grace. Amen.

By Judy Shrout

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