Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.James 1:22
Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, and it has been the subject of countless sermons, lessons, and books. Once when I taught from that passage, I passionately challenged my class to have eyes and hearts opened to those beaten, broken, and left for dead.
Then—as people often do—it seems I forgot that lesson entirely. I traveled to a large city and stayed in a lovely hotel across from a library which was beautifully designed with a protective overhang. From my window I could see a gathering of homeless people there looking for shelter from the cold and rain. Instinctively, I felt judgmental of that city for its neglect.
When I returned home, having enjoyed wonderful travel experiences, I took a prayer walk to quiet my heart. I remembered the Good Samaritan story and realized I had not been a doer of His word. Never once did I cross the street to take a cup of hot coffee, a bottle of water, or a word of hope. In my deep repentance, I did receive mercy and forgiveness. But I also was chastened and changed.
“Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45)