Ourselves or Others?

Read Luke 10:29-37 - The story of the good Samaritan

You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scriptures, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." James 2:8 (NRSV)

Frances K. Griffin, from Oklahoma, was teaching English as a Second Language to college-age students who were preparing to enter a university in the U.S. One day the class was learning to use the reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, himself, etc.), and students were practicing by filling in the blanks in sentences in their workbook. The Sentence "God helps those who help _______________" confused one of Frances's students. When he came up after class to ask her for the answer, Frances told him that this saying is common in the U.S. and that the correct answer is "themselves." God helps those who help "themselves." "Oh," he said. "I thought God helps those who help others."

He was right. Jesus gave us two commandments that are the most important - to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves (See Mark 12: 28-31). The parables in today's reading also reminds us that our neighbor is anyone we meet whom we have the ability to help.

Frances's student's response was closer to the biblical teaching than that popular saying. Even if our material resources are limited, we can offer a smile, a word of encouragement, or a listening ear to those we come in contact with today. And in doing so, we also will be blessed.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to honor you by helping someone who needs what we can give, in Jesus' name, amen.

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