Church Relevance III

The Parable of the good Samaritan is one of the profound stories told by Jesus to a certain lawyer who came to test Him. The young man proved his righteousness and wanted a praise from Jesus. Jesus answered him “what is written in your law?” He quoted it back with confidence to show Jesus the stuff he was made off. Jesus told the young lawyer to go his way and follow the principles he shared with him. The man still wanted to justify himself and he asked Jesus who is my neighbour? This he picked from the words he quoted earlier “thou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind and your neighbour as yourself. Luke 10:27.
To explain to him who his neigbour was, Jesus shared a story with the young man that always gets me fearful about a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among robbers, he was thoroughly dealt with and was left half dead.
A priest was the first person to pass the scene of incidence, he quickly passed by the other side, followed by a Levite, who also saw the man in his wounded state, looked at him and took off. There came a Samaritan, travelling in the same route, and when he saw the man, he had compassion on him first and apply first aid before taking him for further treatment.
Priests and Levites are symbolic when it comes to the service of the temple, the levites are to carry the ark while the priest are to carry out certain functions at the altar. Are they not relevant to any other service outside the temple? Is that not the same story of the church today? Are we not folding our hands waiting for the good Samaritans (the generous politicians) to bail us out even if they are corrupt and their hands are soaked in blood? Have we not totally separated ourselves from community services, in supporting the government to help the poor, the needy and the vulnerable.

Friends, the Church remains the hope for mankind because of the finished work of salvation of the Lord, Jesus. But today, it seems we are less concerned with what is going on so far we hold our services, our special conventions, our camp meetings and we had nice time with God and we care less about the next door neighbour who is in pain and needs a hand of fellowship and love. The young man asked Jesus, who is my neigbour? and Jesus took him through that story to demonstrate to him his true neighbour. Any one in need that you helped not minding whether you belong to the same denomination, from the same town or village, not minding whether you belong to the same tribe or have anythings in common is your neighbour. The weak, the discouraged, the wounded, the depressed, the oppressed, the afflicted that is in the state of giving up, that is who our neigbour is.

Let me give you another shocker! Nothing pricked the heart of the Priest and that of the Levite when they passed through the place where the man was robbed, but it was said of the Samaritan man that when he saw the man, he had compassion on him Luke 10:33. Is this ministry not dying in the church today? Where is our bowel of mercy and compassion for the lost? Young girls get into prostitution because no one is ready to cater for their needs and they feel they can use  what they have to get what they need. Do you have any compassion for them or you judge and condemn them? When our Church got into Molete environment in 2014 (a popular area in Ibadan with history of violence and political upheavals), each time I see these young men abuse themselves with drugs and alcohol early in the morning, I feel so much discomfort in my spirit praying from my heart to God to help me be a channel of blessing and hope to these glorious destinies that the devil has hijacked. The compassionate spirit brought me close to many of them, got talking with them and to the glory of God we have been able to affect the lives of some of them and they are responding to God. Where is your compassion for the lost, the needy and the vulnerable?

You cannot help anyone you dont have compassion for.

As a Church, can we critically look within our community and environment and start to reach out to the wounded, the needy, the discouraged and the downcast. Can we hold our services on the street with beggars? Can we give our church offering to serve the need of our community. The Church is not a club where we feel good and enjoy the fellowship with one another till another Sunday, the church is not a social gathering, it is the gathering of the saints of God with a purpose of establishing the kingdom of God in our sphere of influence.

The spirit of compassion compels into action beyond the lip service. We pray that God will restore the spirit of compassion back into the church so that we would find it so difficult to overlook things that matter. Spirit of compassion prompted Peter, James and John, who could not just bypass the man at the beautiful gate until they saw him walk. Let us activate the spirit of compassion and our society will get batter because each one of us have something to offer to the problems we see all around without waiting for the government or the politicians who are not accountable to anyone.

The man from Samaria poured oil and wine on the wounds of the man. I cannot fully understand and explain this part of the story. What connection does this man has with oil and wine? Who supposed to be in possession of these things? These are symbols of the anointing… He anointed the man and revived his dying spirit. What happen to the priest and the levite? They brought nothing to the scene. Was that not an exchange? What they failed to do, God raised another man instead who has no name and title to bring a revival upon a man that would have been wasted. I see the revival of this end time will take many by surprise, God is secretly raising his end time army, whom He had prepared and groomed, who are not moved by titles or what people are used to but they are equipped for the work. The man of Samaria, was equipped, had all that he needed with him including oil and wine. He carried grace to help the wounded and brought healing to a dying soul.

Church, wake up and get back to your position! You are a city set upon the hill which cannot be hidden. You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Be equipped with the spirit of compassion with the anointing of the Holy spirit to heal the world  and save the lost and the wounded.

The last part of the story, the good Samaritan having applied the first aid to revive the spirit of man, moved on to give the man an intensive care. He took the wounded man to the Inn for further treatment and paid for all that is needed. Church is the Inn (Intensive Care Unit), a place of refuge for the lost and a place of healing for the sick. This was clearly stated in the mission statement of Jesus in Luke 4:18.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.

The good Samaritan was not asking for his name, his tribe, his denomination or what have you. He treated the wounded first, revived his spirit and brought stability into his condition. Let the Church (the believers) go to the field and seek for the wounded, the lost, the afflicted and oppressed, revive them, get them saved and take them through discipleship program to stabilise their condition and make them strong in the Lord.

The time is Now!

Olufemi Ajani