There is a particular temptation that many churches in America face today. Like the priest and the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan, we’re all into religious duties—reading the Bible, tithing (or something close to tithing), volunteering, going to small group. But for many of us, when we look at our lives, there’s very little giving away of ourselves.
Jesus referred to this in Matthew 23:23 when he said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others” (ESV).
When we emphasize the marginal but neglect the essential—loving people—we have become the Pharisees.
In the same story, Jesus gave us an example for how we should love our neighbors. That example was the Samaritan, a man who showed us the “who,” “when,” and “how much” of loving our neighbors.
1. Who is our neighbor?
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