Our life is a story enfolded in the epic story of God. Stories are all around us. They move us, make us feel alive, and inspire us.
Jesus was a master communicator. He used objects, humor, current events, historical reference, and poetry. But most of all, he told stories. He knew that people remember stories. He realized that they were a way to reach people where they were living, help them see themselves in that story, and gain a greater understanding about life: life with God, life with each other.
Who is the most remarkable communicator you have heard speak? What about them captivated you?
Everybody loves to listen to a good storyteller. 2,000 years ago, Jesus, a carpenter from Nazareth, told a series of simple stories that mesmerized all kinds of people.
Even many people who don’t believe in Jesus agree that he was one of the greatest communicators who ever lived. Jesus painted these compelling pictures with stories that we could understand: stories of a wedding reception, weeds in the garden, losing some money in your house, a rebellious son and a heartbroken dad.
One day, Jesus was teaching about loving your neighbor as yourself when a religious expert asked him “Who is my neighbor?”
Have a volunteer read Luke 10: 25-37.
Samaritans and Jews hated each other. So by having a Samaritan show love to a Jewish stranger, Jesus was saying that even the people you like the least are the neighbors you’re supposed to love.
Is there a time when you were hurting or in need and someone stepped in like the Good Samaritan? Share how that impacted your life.
Which “neighbors” are the hardest for you to love and why? What is one practical step you can take to be more loving towards them?
We get so busy in our own lives that many times when confronted with hurting people in need, we turn our head and keep going. Today we are surrounded by people who are physically hurting; emotionally hurting; and like never in our lifetimes people who are spiritually hurting. The thieves in this parable represent Satan, the enemy of God. We know he seeks to steal and destroy from us.
Gene shared a story about a woman in the airport who had a bag of cookies she had just purchased. A man kept reaching over and taking cookies from her bag. She was getting upset and angry until she realized she had taken his bag of cookies, in addition to hers, by accident. This attitude or fear of getting ripped off or focusing too much on our own needs stands in the way of helping hurting people in our community.
Share a time you saw a need of someone or a group and wished you had offered to help. What kept you from reaching out and getting involved?
One of the dreams we have for Eastside is to establish local “trauma centers” in every neighborhood, on every block, in all our communities, that our homes, dorm rooms, apartments, condos, and workplaces would be places where we reach out to and care for the broken and hurting around us.
In America we view our homes as our castles, and we see it as our job to protect everything good that’s inside of those four walls from everything bad that’s outside of them.
But in Isaiah 58, God told the Israelites that he wanted them to share their food with the hungry, invite the homeless into their house, and clothe the naked.
You’ll notice that God didn’t say, “Serve at a soup kitchen, build a homeless shelter, and support the Salvation Army.” Certainly, those are good things, and they’re worth doing. But God took it one step further and told them that when they saw people broken and hurting and in need, they should do something about it themselves. He said, “You share your food. You share your house. You cover them yourself.” And that’s the same message Jesus teaches in the story of the Good Samaritan.
As followers of Jesus, our homes are not castles but rather trauma centers for the Kingdom of God. And the people we love who are in them—our families, our friends, our roommates, our small groups—are either fellow servants of Jesus on mission from God with us or else patients in that trauma center who are in need of spiritual care because they don’t know Jesus.
What is one practical step you can take to turn your home into a trauma center for people who are in spiritual, physical, and/or emotional need.
Gene shared three main ideas we can learn from Luke 10:
We’re surrounded by hurting people and we need to be willing to open our hearts and care for people we have never met. People that are different from us.
There must be a trauma center available for them. We are here today, because some people opened up their hearts to us.
Trauma centers are built with open hearts and open hands. Trauma centers are built by people like the Good Samaritan with open Hands that sacrifice for people who can’t pay you back.
Who do you know who needs a life-giving relationship with Jesus? Pair off with the same person you shared your spiritual next step with a few weeks ago and spend some time in prayer. Pray for:
God to begin working in the heart of the person who doesn’t know him.
The opportunity to show Jesus love to that person in a tangible way.
The opportunity to share the good news about Jesus with that person.
Courage to share that good news.