Reading: Luke 10:25-37
Memory verse: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10: 27
God of compassion and mercy,
Like the man from Samaria, give me:
A heart that aches for those who are hurting,
Hands that bandage, and anoint, and lovingly hold,
Sharp eyes to notice the needs in the world,
And courage to act in your name.
So often there is a small voice inside of me that speaks, and that I ignore. My children sometimes echo this inner voice, especially when it comes to passing people on the streets who are in need of help.
My husband and I don’t have a consistent approach to giving to homeless people. In the last month of traveling with our family, we encountered homeless, needy people in Rome, Benin, and Paris. Here is a reflection that I wrote:
Eden was sobbing because she felt so badly for a homeless woman who was sitting outside of a cathedral in Rome. In Benin, the need was much greater. Every time the car was stopped at a light, people rushed onto the street offering CDs, toys, towels, dishcloths, photo frames, for sale. Others pushed someone in a wheelchair who had leprosy, coming up to each of us at our car windows and asking for money. One day, Eden saw a hand come up from below and hit her car window. She laughed, surprised. She looked down out of the window and saw a man pushing himself around the traffic on a skateboard, asking for money. Our Beninese hosts weren’t comfortable giving money to beggars, so we followed suit. In Paris, Eden asked again to give money to someone on the street. When do we give? When do we not give? It seems so random, and our children are watching.
Sometimes we give money, sometimes we give food, sometimes we have invited someone to join us for a meal at a restaurant. I know that we need to address the problems that are creating homelessness, but what about the neighbor on the street today who is asking for spare change? These are the questions that our family is talking about lately. Perhaps you have ideas from your own family’s experience that could help us. We’re all ears!
1. Jesus said that the one who was a neighbor was the man who showed mercy. How can you or your family show mercy to someone this week?
2. The Samaritan man would have been seen as the “enemy” to Jewish listeners. How can you show love to those who would think of you as the “enemy”? Who are the people who are hardest to love?
3. Who are the neighbors, near and far, that God is calling you to love? The Samaritan man moved out of his “comfort zone.” In what ways can you move out of yours?
1. Make a list like the one from the Still Waters blog that says “love thy __________ neighbor.” Have each family member think of a word to insert into the blank.
2. Talk together about ways you can show love to others without expecting anything in return. What random acts of kindness could you do as a family this week? How could you surprise others with love and care? Bring someone a cold drink, weed someone’s garden, bake some cookies, write a letter to someone far away, make sandwiches to pass out to people on the streets. The options are endless!
3. Watch a version of the Good Samaritan story on youtube, like this lego version.
4. Make small first aid kits for children to carry in their school backpacks to help friends in need. These could include band-aids, cotton balls, gauze, and small lollipops or candies.
–By Rebecca Seiling