Road Trip Sermon Series Week #7 Devotional
July 9, 2018
See below for an audio version of the following devotional.
TEXT: Luke 10:25-37
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Vacations are nothing without an itinerary. Maybe I should rephrase that. MY vacations are nothing without an itinerary. I need a thoroughly planned out schedule that maps out exactly how we will experience whatever city, state, country we are traveling. Otherwise, we could miss out on the full experience and find ourselves flying back home with regret.
Itineraries are the only way to travel. My wife, Priscilla, disagrees. She’d prefer taking days to relax at a coffee shop, beach, hotel, spa or some other place and just unplug and rest.
It sounds terrible, right? Ok. Maybe not.
The truth is, I’m perfectly fine with peaceful, relaxing days during a vacation … as long as they’re properly scheduled and fit with the overall itinerary. (ha!)
Whether we find ourselves sticking to the perfect itinerary during a road trip, or opting for a no-itinerary-needed mindset, we’re developing an agenda either way. The question I see in this text is, “what do we do when our agenda has to change?”
Jesus tells a story about three people confronted with this very situation. Each of them are on a road trip of their own. A priest, a Levite and a Samaritan each walk this road and encounter a man laying on the side clinging for life. Suddenly, agendas have to change.
For the priest and the Levite, the change meant inconveniently diverting to the other side of the street. They passed up this person in need. We’re led to believe that this is to keep from becoming dirty, spiritually unclean or perhaps even falling victim to the same fate as the one they do their best to avoid. It turns out their personal agenda is too important to them. They cross to the other side and continue their journey.
Then there’s the Samaritan. He travels the same road. He sees the same man. He faces the same dilemma. Should he stick to his own agenda and cross to the other side? Or perhaps the Samaritan’s agenda is set by One who is greater than himself. He pauses and … you know the rest.
I confess to you, there are times when I am absolutely convinced that my agenda is of the utmost importance, no matter what I encounter in the midst of a journey.
The challenge of Jesus is one that questions our own personal agendas. Jesus invites us to reject the temptation to cross the street and, instead, notice how our agendas join God’s whenever there is an opportunity to extend mercy.
Lord, you have good plans. If I’m honest, there are times when I prefer my own. You know that and still, you go out of our way to show me mercy. Thank you. Help me to trust you more and embrace the freedom found in living your agenda for my life. Don’t let me miss an opportunity to be a neighbor today. Amen.
- Where do most of your agendas originate? Who sets them? For what purpose?
- In your life, who have you seen go out of their way to show you mercy?
- What does it look like to live Jesus’ agenda for your life?