Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Being the Good Samaritan without the recognition or praise - it is a struggle

SCRIPTURE: Luke 10:33 (NIV) (full story – Luke 10:30-35)
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

Jean Frederick Oberlin, a minister in 18th century Germany, was traveling by foot in winter when he was caught in a severe snowstorm. He soon lost his way in the blowing snow and feared he would freeze to death. In despair he sat down, not knowing which way to turn. Just then, a man came along in a wagon and rescued Oberlin. He took him to the next village and made sure he would be cared for. As the man prepared to journey on, Oberlin said, "Tell me your name so that I may at least have you in grateful remembrance before God." The man, who by now had recognized Oberlin, replied, "You are a minister. Please tell me the name of the Good Samaritan." Oberlin said, "I cannot do that, for it is not given in the Scriptures." His benefactor responded, "Until you can tell me his name, please permit me to withhold mine."

Do we expect recognition for what we do? It is good to get the pats on the back, to be thanked for the efforts we put forth, to receive the “way to go”, and as I have reminded often, “a little praise helps grease the machinery.” So I’m always a little conflicted when it comes to the need that individuals have, myself included, to receive praise for what we do when at the very least it is our duty as servants of Christ.

Herein lies my struggle. Do we do what we do for the praise and recognition or because it is what God calls us to fulfill through Christ?

As the bumper sticker stated a few years back, “Practice random acts of kindness.” And so, as the story above reminds us, we are to be the Samaritan to someone today … do the unexpected, going where no one else will go, saying what no else will say, and doing what no one else will do.

Guide us oh great Jehovah into paths of righteousness so that we might truly be your servants as we serve those around us, especially those in need. Amen.

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