TUESDAY, MAY 25
By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
Luke 10:31-32 (NLT2)
MY LOVE IS MEASURED BY MY ACTIONS, NOT MY INTENTIONS
In the late 1700’s, the manager of Baltimore’s largest hotel refused lodging to a man dressed like a farmer because they thought this fellow’s appearance would ruin the reputation of the inn. Later that evening, the innkeeper discovered that he had turned away none other than Thomas Jefferson, then Vice President. Immediately, the manager sent a note and asked Jefferson to come back and be his guest. Jefferson replied by saying, “Tell him I already have a place to stay. I value his good intentions, but if he has no place for a dirty American farmer, he has none for the Vice President of the United States.”
In Luke 10, a priest and a Levite see a man in need but did not act on what they saw. They served God by profession, but their walk did not match their talk. Jesus did not choose the priest and Levite as examples in Luke 10 because they were the worst but because they were the best. If they are terrible people, the story loses its force. We expect compassion from clergy and assume that the priest and Levite will help, but they pass by on the other side. Jesus does not tell us why they fail to stop. Whatever their reasons, Jesus’ story highlights that intending to observe the letter of the law falls short of loving God and loving our neighbor with our actions, which is the standard that the lawyer has outlined to qualify for salvation.
This passage highlights the fact that even the best of us will fall short of perfection and need God’s grace. The passage also highlights the fact that it is not just enough to say that we love God and love people. Love is an action word. Who have you intended to show love to lately but put off acting on that intention? What can you do to change that?
Thank God for His grace when your actions have fallen short. Praise Jesus for His example of love in action.