Jesus consistently reminds us about the values of servant hood through his ministry, teachings and example. In Luke 10 an expert in the law asked Jesus what he must do to be saved (see also Matt. 19:16-22; Luke 18:18-23; John 3:1-15), Jesus asks the lawyer to share what he understood which in turn he answers correctly (v27). The lawyer then wanted to justify himself as he was most likely Jewish and asked Jesus who his neighbour was; Jesus answers his question knowing the state of his heart with this powerful story.
The story of the Good Samaritan is a great example of the attributes of a servant. Jesus shares this story as a response to a question from a lawyer who wanted to test Jesus and justify his own actions.
Read Luke 10:25-37, then take a few moments and ask your group what observations they make about this passage.
As you can see in the bible, Jesus shares about a man travelling between Jerusalem and Jericho who was attacked by robbers who leave him half dead. A Priest comes along this road and does not stop to help, a Levite also comes along the road, sees the man but does not stop to help. Jesus then introduces the Samaritan who stops and gives assistance to the man in need, tends to his wounds and takes him to an inn to recover.
Servant hood is a key attribute for all followers of Christ; some principles in this story of the Good Samaritan are,
1. Use Your Mind to Think Like a Servant
The Good Samaritan shows a mindset to serve others. Romans reminds us about the battle that rages within us and how we need to renew our minds (see Rom 8:6, 12:1-2). Let’s have a mind to think like a servant.
2. Use Your Ears to Hear Like a Servant
The Good Samaritan heard the cry of the injured man and responded. As we listen to those around us and ask questions that invite sharing of feelings we minister to others we are giving them permission to share from their heart. In Ps 34:15 we are reminded that God listens to our cry.
3. Use Your Eyes to See Like a Servant
The bible says that both the Priest and the Levite saw the injured man but only the Samaritan responded to what he had seen. Ask God to help you see the needs that are around you, to open your eyes so you can see opportunities to reach out to others.
4. Use Your Words to Speak like a Servant
Prov 16:24 ‘pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones’. Our words have great power, to build up or tear down, let’s use our words to bring healing into the lives of those around us.
Can you remember when someone has spoken kindly to you? Share what happened and how you were encouraged.
5. Use Your Heart to Love like a Servant
Jesus modelled compassion to us (Mt 14:14, 15:32), as servants of Jesus we too should allow our hearts to be filled with mercy and compassion. I shared my story of hearing Bill Hybels speaking on this topic and my response was to pray ‘break my heart for what breaks yours’ take a moment to discuss this and ask your group what they feel God has placed upon their heart.
6. Use Your Resources to Give Like a Servant
Good Samaritan bandaged the wounds of the injured man and took him to an inn to recover and covered all costs, he really showed compassion to this man. Martin Seligman, a Jewish psychologist who has been a major influence in the recent shifts towards a more positive psychology has done extensive studies in the area of happiness. His research indicates that a person has more powerful and longer lasting positive emotions after one act of kindness done towards someone else, than that which comes from doing something merely for yourself (e.g. a hot fudge Sunday and movie). He could have saved a lot of research money just by listening to Jesus’ words from 2000 years ago – “It’s more blessed to give than to receive!”. Martin Luther said Faith alone justifies, yet faith is never alone.
The Inn as a Metaphor
One of the most powerful metaphors we see in this story, is the man who had been beaten, was taken by the Samaritan to an Inn, where he was able to recover. The church is the modern day ‘Inn’ where people go to receive healing, healing emotionally, spiritually and physically.
As we consider the role we can all play in discovering, developing and deploying the gifts that God has placed in our lives we are reminded of the vital role we can all play to help those who need a place to recover. Ephesians 4 reminds us of the important role all of us play within the body of Christ. As you finish the study encourage your group to volunteer in any area within the life of our church and make a valuable contribution to helping others.