Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. - Luke 10:33-34

In the story of the Good Samaritan, we see three very distinct perspectives on life. There were the thieves who mugged the poor man, taking his things and leaving him for dead. They are like those who care nothing for the poor, but deliberately exploit them. Their view is “What’s yours is mine – I’ll take it.”

Then you have the religious and the successful that pass by those in need; too busy to see, too disgusted to stop. They refuse to take time out of their busy schedules to raise someone out of the ditch into which they’ve fallen. They cannot stain their Armani suits with the body fluids of someone who “should’ve known better.” Their choice is to ignore the need. Their view is “What’s mine is mine – I’ll keep it.”

Then you have the good Samaritans of life. They stop, look and act. They pick up those who are wounded by life and take them to help. They give of their time, of their money, of their efforts and of their hearts. They not only take a moment of their time to write a check but make a commitment to return to the issue and do more if necessary. Their view is “What’s mine is yours – I’ll share it.”

Which of these three views do we see the most evidence of in the world? One and one-half acres of rainforest are lost every second with tragic consequences for both developing and industrial countries. And rain forests are merely one issue of many thousands! We are destroying our own planet for the sake of the bottom line.

Which of these views do we see in our county? Where I live in the rural midwest, we have 51 churches in a county of approximately 18,000 people. If each church could care for, nurture and love 350 people, no one would fall through the cracks. And yet we have working poor with no health insurance and who cannot escape the consequences of their own mistakes and sins.

Jesus, when faced with people’s needs, inevitably dealt with both their physical and spiritual needs. (Mark 2:9-12) It is time for the Church to gather her wits about her and seek solutions to this world’s problems. If we cannot offer solutions to the poverty of their lives, how can we pretend to offer help for the poverty of their souls? If we are more concerned about liability in ministry than the liberation OF the ministry, then we should evaluate which of these three views characterize us.