Three quotes for reflection this morning:
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27, NASB)
“But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:33-37, NASB)
In the story of the good Samaritan, Christ illustrates the nature of true religion. He shows that it consists not in systems, creeds, or rites, but in the performance of loving deeds, in bringing the greatest good to others…. Unless there is practical self-sacrifice for the good of others, in the family circle, in the neighborhood, in the church, and wherever we may be, then whatever our profession we are not Christians. (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 497, 504; in Welfare Ministry, p. 42).
- Who have I seen embody the way of the Good Samaritan recently?
- When has someone unexpectedly given of themselves to care for me?
- In what ways have I given up something I desired (time, attention, money, rest, food, etc.) in order to care for others?
- Does my life say that to be a Christian is to love? What do my life-hours really say about my values? That is, what have I spent more hours of my life doing–serving others (individually or at larger levels of society), sitting in church, participating in church events, etc.?
- What are my emotional and cognitive reactions to Ellen White’s assertion that creeds and rites are less central to Christianity than is living compassionately?