Luke 10:25-42

The lawyer in this account shows some perception. While we know that some religious experts of the day were demanding that the point of the Law was to make sure that you ticked all the boxes, he realised that the summaries in determined and Leviticus were the point, and everything else was explanation of how that would look. Still, he tries to "justify" himself – which means to declare himself just, rather than to make himself just. In other words, while he realises that the Law isn't about ticking boxes, he still wants to know 'who do I have to be nice to so that I will have met this?' We see this in modern Christianity all the time. "Flee from sexual immorality" says Paul in 1 Corinthians 6. So can my girlfriend and I cuddle? Kiss? How far can we go before we step over the magic line? "if [someone's gift] is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously" says Romans 12. So do I have to tithe before or after taxes? These are all good questions, and it is good to think through what God's will is for us, but we can forget that his chief will is that we be sanctified (set apart for him) so we should be spending far more time on the question 'does this make me more holy?'

Ok…back on subject. This story is used so often that it's hard to see past the Sunday School answers and learn anything new from it. But the priest and the Levite made Judaism (and God) look bad. How many times could we look at a situation where Christians and non-Christians are interacting with the world and ask 'which of those, do you think, proved to be the one transformed by grace' and get the wrong answer? This story should be told everyone and everyone should be seeking to be 'the good Samaritan', but if Christians don't lead the way, how much ridicule do we open our God to from the world? How can I tell a non-Christian about the costly, time-consuming, unexpected, undeserved love I have been given without me giving it to other people?

And Mary and Martha, another well-used episode. But it's so true that by missing out on the 'best dish' of taking time to sit at the Lord's feet, everything else can fall apart. I really haven't done that this week, and everything has fallen apart. Chances are, I'll do it again. Business for God is not an excuse for skipping time spent personally with him – but far more than that, it's nowhere near as rewarding! I need my priorities in line. I need help.

Heavenly Father, thankyou that you save by grace and through faith, rather than by our feeble efforts to tick boxes. Please help me to follow your guidance more closely, but keep my mind on the resaon and engine for doing that – Jesus Christ. Thankyou for the completely generous love that you have shown, and please help me to reflect that to people around me, and always aim to point people back to its source and not to me. I'm sorry that I haven't spent time at your feet, and haven't cherished that as much as it truly deserves. Help me to seek to make it my first priority that my soul is happy in you. Amen.

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