Dr. John Stevens has billed American Airlines for $900, in addition to the $250 in travel vouchers they already sent him, for Good Samaritan type service he gave a passenger on a flight from L.A. to London. Mrs. Audrey Stevens, no relation, became ill on the flight, and responding to the call for aid, he treated her while the flight could be diverted to Chicago where she was taken to a hospital. Now is that neighborly?
In Luke 10:25-37 Christ gave a parable that has caught the attention of the world and illustrates the way He thinks things should be. First of all, the man helped was a Jew and the hero of the story who assisted him was a Samaritan, usually relegated to the same class as a dog by the Jew. Second, the Samaritan had genuine compassion that knew no racial boundaries. He cared for the Jew who had been injured by robbers. He used expensive commodities, oil and wine, to treat him and took the time to transport him to an inn where he paid in advance for him to stay. The only bill mentioned was, “Take care of him and whatsoever thou spendest more, I, when I come back again, will repay thee.” In a “What’s in it for me?” world, the teaching on loving our neighbors as ourselves is sweet and refreshing.
In the Sermon on the Mount an essential principle of true discipleship is that we should lay up treasures in heaven. Matthew 6:20. In the Judgement Day when the vault is opened it will be tragic and very sad if our treasure consists mainly of unpaid bills that we felt the world owed us – but which we never collected.
If Christ had been guided by “What’s in it for me?” the wise men would never have seen a star, the shepherds would not have heard or seen an angel, Joseph and Mary would never have had a son, the cross and the ground beneath it would never have been soaked with blood, and you and I would be doomed to a hell we could not escape because of permanent sin-stains that could never be washed away.
Christ was the best neighbor we ever had!