Good Samaritan Behaviors

Making room for collective concern in the midst of individual priorities is a particular Christian matter. From its origins the Christian message has always been “to love God” but just as fundamental to the faith has been the mandate to love one’s neighbor.

In the pressures of contemporary life, many citizens feel they do not have the cultural currency to care for neighbors in need—specifically, time and money. In life’s paradox, those who have negotiable time are often without excess money, and those who have any money to spare are left without discretionary time.

One of Jesus’s best known parables prevents serious disciples from ignoring this dilemma. The message of the Good Samaritan is really about time and money. The characters in the story face the pressure of whether to surrender their time schedules to the immediate needs of the man in the ditch. The Samaritan and hero in Jesus’s scenario distinguishes himself because he not only alters his timetable but also reaches into his pocket and practices financial generosity.

The question we face as modern Christians is this: Can we distinguish ourselves through these Good Samaritan behaviors of surrendering time and money to our neighbors in society? Do we express our discipleship and our citizenship by increasing the social capital in our society? Expressing Good Samaritan behaviors that contribute social capital to our society is a Christian responsibility and privilege.

This stewardship story is an excerpt from the article "Good Samaritan Behaviors" by Don Posterski, found in the Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation magazine volume 1. Create an annual stewardship emphasis using this magazine's theme "The Gifts of God for the People of God" using the magazine and accompanying theme materials.