With my 40th birthday is looming, I have entered a new stage in life — reading glasses. I have worn glasses or contacts since I was 12-years-old. But these reading glasses are something that came up out of nowhere.
My eye doctor told me at my last appointment due to a strange astigmatism, he could give me a prescription that was a little stronger than I needed, which could result in daily headaches or a little weaker than I needed which would result in reading glasses. So I chose the readers.
I marched over to the local dollar store and bought my first pair. My kids call them my “mean glasses” because I look over the top of them like a mean librarian or math teacher. I have to admit I like them only for getting my point across to my kiddos.
My daughter also wears glasses. She got hers when she was nine. My middle son thinks he wants glasses, even telling his teacher he couldn’t see the board in class so she would tell us to take him to the eye doctor. After some questioning at home before making him an appointment, we figured out, no glasses needed. He just thought he might look cool with them.
With all this talk about glasses going on, I started thinking about the “glasses” we use to look at the world around us.
Recently, God brought the story of the Good Samaritan back to mind. It was in a study I led at church, in our Sunday School literature and in my own personal study. I’ve been in church long enough to know if God keeps bringing it up, there’s something new He wants to show me.
You remember the story of the Good Samaritan, right?
Here’s a reminder, just in case you forgot. So a man is walking on a road from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he gets robbed, beaten and left to die on the side of the road. A priest comes by and walks on the other side of the road, ignoring the bleeding, dying man, and heads off to serve in the temple.
A Levite comes by, again ignoring the man, too busy “serving” God than to help. Finally, a Samaritan comes by, picks up the man, takes him to a hotel, provides money to cover his medical costs and says he will pay more if needed. When Jesus told the story, He asked “Which of these was a neighbor to the man?” (Luke 10:36 NIV). Well, of course it was the Samaritan, the one who took care of and helped the man.
So, I’m reading this story again for probably the 500th time in my life. But this time, it hit me differently. I began to think why didn’t the priest and the Levite help? They saw the man because they went to the other side of the street to avoid him. So what were they missing? Then it occurred to me.
The priest and the Levite were too busy “serving” and “doing” in the temple, placing themselves on a pedestal for what they “did” for God. The Samaritan on the other hand, he was watchful. He saw the person in pain and hurting around him. He saw the man who was bleeding and dying. BUT, not only did he see him, he helped him. He didn’t cross on the other side of the street.
He got his hands dirty. He gave up his money. He gave his time. For what? For a hurting, dying stranger.
Well, that was it! That was what God wanted me to see. Am I putting on my Samaritan glasses? Do I see those people around me who are hurting and dying? Do I cross on the other side of the street? Or am I willing to get my hands “dirty”?
I can get very caught up in “serving” and “doing” in church, but what about outside the four walls of my church? Am I doing as Jesus said at the end of the story of the Good Samaritan? He said “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37 NIV).
I can’t say I’m perfect at this at all.
But I am working on putting on my Samaritan glasses each day.
Just like those reading glasses help me focus on words on a page, I use my “Samaritan glasses” to learn to focus on the hurting and dying world around me. It can be really hard some days. I’m not going to lie — I get caught up in the day-in, day-out, busyness of life. Some days, it would be so much easier to pass on the other side of the street.
But that’s not what Jesus called us to do. He said “go and do likewise.” So I try. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I succeed. But I know daily, I just need to pull out my “Samaritan glasses” and take in the view.
Kimberly Reed loves encouraging women to see themselves as God uniquely made them through her passion for writing, leading and teaching women’s Bible studies. Her desire is to see women develop a pure and wholehearted love for Jesus. Kimberly is a Georgia girl. She married her best friend, Matt, and is called “mom” by her three kids. In addition to being a wife and mom, she works as a registered nurse. Kimberly loves all thing autumn, the 1980’s and good food, especially desserts.
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