As Christians, many of us grew up learning the parable story, The Good Samaritan. If we had to quickly recount the main lesson out of this story it would probably be something like, “be a good neighbor” or “be nice to others.” This is an easy lesson to agree with, because Jesus himself modeled this behavior.
But how often have we applied this story to our own lives, and without realizing it, assumed we are the Good Samaritan? I mean, it makes sense, I’d prefer to be the hero of the story too. But if we look more closely at the context of this parable, we find that Jesus tells the story in a way that actually places us as the person lying half dead on the side of the road, in need of mercy.
How often do we assume we are the hero?
I recently learned, through a class called Dignity Serves, that we are most definitely not.
Jesus is the hero and has always been the hero. He has already come to save us, and we are the ones in need of His mercy- every single day- in every single relationship.
Relationships are where God does his best work. But it’s also where there can be the most pain and the least amount of progress. Relationships can often be less than efficient for those of us who need to get things done and check items off our list.
Thankfully, my church was connected to a six week series called Dignity Serves at Love INC in Hudsonville. This was a journey that reframed our way of thinking and defined a new lens to use in ministry and outreach. A lens that focused on how Jesus himself viewed human need, human dignity, and true dependence on God.
We didn’t walk away knowing all the answers. But we did walk away convicted. We walked away with less indifference, less condescension, and less resentment towards serving and helping others. We walked away with a shared new lens with which we now use on a regular basis to inform our ministry. Our church wide decisions are easier to make together when we all work out of this same point of view and share the same language on dignity, assets and more.
This lens sees every person has someone with gifts to offer.
This lens levels the playing field when we serve.
This lens gives us courage to ask hard questions.
This lens reminds us that service is a life posture, not a project.
This lens emphasizes that messy relationships are where, when we keep showing up, God does his best work.
This lens allows us to take the pressure off ourselves and put our full reliance back on God.
Let me leave you with this message taken directly from Dignity Serves: “There is no greater sorrow than isolation. Serving others is offering a connection. Let us lose our obsession with solving problems and doing big things and embrace the simple role of being a good neighbor. Let us hold out the gifts of God so that others experience the warmth of connection without us needing to be the hero. Let us not ignore the pains and sorrows of the world by becoming indifferent. Let us serve as God has taught us to serve.”
-Dignity Serves 2019 Graduate
Interested in taking Dignity Serves? Click here for Class Offerings.