Some People Will
by Rev. Randy Brown
Our scripture this morning is taken from the gospel of Luke chapter ten beginning with verse 25. A legal expert tried it to test Jesus and he said “Teacher what must I do to gain eternal life”? Jesus replied, “What is written in the law and how do you interpret that?” He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being, with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself”. And Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”
But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right and he said to Jesus “And who is my neighbor” and Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and he encountered thieves who stripped him of his clothes and beat him and left him there to die. It just so happened that a priest came that way going down the same road and when he saw the injured man he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. Likewise, a Levite came to the spot and saw the injured man and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. But a Samaritan was on a journey and he came where the man was and when he saw him he was moved with compassion and the Samaritan went to him and bound up his wounds tending them with oil and wine and then he placed him on his own animal and he took him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two full days wages and gave them to the innkeeper and he said, “Take care of him and when I return I will repay you for any additional cost”.
“And what do you think then, which of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered the thieves?” And, the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.” And Jesus said, “You are right, go and do likewise.”
This is the word of God for the people of God. We are going to pray together. Lord in these moments that we have together as we come to your table may the living word of Christ speak to us from the book that contains his written word and may we hear quiet shuffling of sandaled feet as you come to walk among us. We pray this in the name of Christ. Amen.
The story that I read a moment ago that we will be talking about for a few is a story that perhaps is as known much outside the church as it is inside the church. There are many organizations who go to this story to get their name of the ministry that they are about. And you’ve heard about the local Good Samaritan ministries this morning. We are going to talk about the story that Luke’s gospel tells us about the Good Samaritan as we prepare to come to the table this morning. Donald Gray Barnhouse, the great theologian, said that all of life reflects biblical truths and certainly we can find ourselves at different places at different times of life. We can find ourselves at different places in the story that I read just a moment ago. Because, some time we have all taken trips and we have all traveled and we all have been mistreated. We have all had the opportunity to help others and we have all, from time to time, walked by on the other side and from time to time we have been those that would help, so we find our life story in this story as well.
This story is interesting in that it takes the place when Jesus is encountered by one of the many legal experts of the day and he asked him a question. He really asked him two questions. He said, “What must I do to inherit eternal life and Jesus said, how do you read the law, what does it say?” He gave the answer and Jesus complimented him on that. But then, wanting to justify himself, the legal expert goes on to say “But who is my neighbor?” Have you asked a question and then about halfway getting the words out, you wished somehow you could just reach out into space and grab those words an suck them back in? Have you ever done that? Not going for a show of hands, but we’ve done that from time to time haven’t we? And it was Jesus’s response to that second question that tells the story of the parable of the Good Samaritan. I don’t know this guy who is asking the question. I don’t know that he was married but, if he was, I’m sure that in the crowd his wife looked at him with that look; when will you leave well enough to alone? When will you ever learn to just get the answer and go on? But, he didn’t do that and I’m glad he didn’t, because if he had, we would have never heard the story.
Three things that I want us to look at. Three kinds of people. We know them. We’ve become them from time to time. The first thing in the story is that some people will beat you up. Some people will beat you up and if you know anything about the history of the Tennessee conference you know the name family name of Chapell is one of the patriarchal families in the Methodist conference in Tennessee. That one of their own has just come back home and he has taken on the responsibility as Senior Pastor at Brentwood church. His dad, Wallace, was at McKendree for years.
One of the Chapell boys that did not become a preacher was Ashley Chapell. Ashley was a farmer. Ashley and his son were out in Arkansas years and years ago on a hot summer day and they were buying, selling and trading hogs. As they were going down a two-lane road, they saw a truck was broken down on the side of the road. They stopped to help. The man who had stopped on the side of road pulled out a gun and, in cold blood, shot Ashley Chapell and his young son. He goes to hide he body somewhere over in the field close by. The land owner heard the shots and came to see what was happening. He asked the man, “Are you hunting deer”? he said, “Yes I am”. Then he said, “I’m afraid I have to take you in”. And when that happened, the man pulled out the gun again and shot the landowner. A couple of weeks later when the landowner’s wife was showing some friends what had happened and where it happened, they stumbled over the remains of Ashley Chappell and his young son and they identified them by certain dental marks. Some people will beat you up.
Ask the schoolteachers what bullying is like in the schools where they teach. Some people will beat you up. Did you hear the story a while back about the person who stole the money out of the blind man’s cup in Knoxville Tennessee. Some people will beat you up. What kind of thief would do something like that? Some people will beat you up. The elder brother - at least verbally - beat up the younger brother when he returned from swine land. He Beat him up in front of the father. Joseph’s brothers beat him up. Some people will beat you up. Secondly some people will pass you up. It’s a criticism, and I guess it may be warranted at times, that this was really a Bishop and the District Superintendent on way to annual Conference. That kind of puts it in the Methodist Circle. Sometimes we are so heavenly-conscience that we are not of any earthly good. Sometimes we are so busy getting to the place where the church is going and we do the religious thing, that we’re no earthly good.
Technology has come a long way. We talked the other Sunday about 8-track tape players; well I’ve had people say, “I don’t know what that is”. Well, that’s a different sermon for a different day. We have become so technologically advanced, but you know there’s nothing like a touch. There’s nothing like a touch no the matter what the technology has, we still strive and long for that touch. The Scripture talks about Jesus going into the town, a village, and he sees the needs there, and what does it say, “and he touched them”. The woman touched the hem of his garment. Touch is vitally important. No cell phone, no text, no Ipad, no anything can take the place of the human touch. Just go to an elementary school sometime and watch them hug your legs off if you just go in there and stand. Go to a nursing home. As you walk down the hall you have people there sitting in wheelchairs and they just want a touch. Sometimes a touch is all we need. I know parents with young children and teenage children. I know there’s such thing as inappropriate touch but you better know how to touch your children. You better learn how to touch your children – your sons and your daughters – or they will find somebody who will. We long for a touch.
Sometimes we get passed by. Some people will beat you up. Some people will pass you up. The book of Lamentations asks the question “Is it nothing to you, all you pass by”? - Just that touch. The story in Genesis is interesting. In chapter 40, it talks about Joseph and he has gone down to Egypt, and now he’s been in the Pharaohs Palace. And all of a sudden he’s in prison, as was a Cupbearer, who was the dream interpreter. The cupbearer was going back to the Pharaoh’s palace and before he goes back Joseph –he and Joseph a have a conversation and Joseph says to him “remember me” and then the Scripture has this indictment. it says he did not remember him, he forgot him. Wonder why the cupbearer forgot him? is it because he has a bad memory? I don’t think so. Is it because he didn’t recognize him the next time he saw him? No, I think the reason the cupbearer forgot him was because it’s kind of hard to remember those whom you’ve left behind when you living in the Pharaoh’s Palace. When you are eating at Pharaohs table, It’s hard to remember those we have left behind. Sometimes we just pass by.
There is a poem I want to share with you called, Around the Corner. See if you identify with this;
In this great city that has no end,
Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone.
And I never see my old friends face,
For life is a swift and terrible race,
He knows I like him just as well,
As in the days when I rang his bell.
And he rang mine but we were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men.
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.
“Tomorrow” I say! “I will call on Jim
Just to show that I’m thinking of him”,
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
And distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corner, yet miles away,
“Here’s a telegram sir,” “Jim died today.”
And that’s what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.
Some people will beat you up. Some people will pass you up. But there’s more to the story. Some people will lift you up. Some people will beat you up, pass you up, but some people will lift you up.
You know the story the man was going down on his way minding his own business. He goes down that curvy road from Jerusalem to Jericho and people swarmed him and beat him and left him half dead. The Priest and the Levite went by that way and they walked on the other side. A Samaritan - a member of the despised class - went over and bound up his wounds put him on his animal and took him to the Inn and took care of him. The next morning he got up to leave and got out his Jerusalem Express card –I made that part up - and he said, “Put the rest of the tab on this. I’ll take care of him.
Some people will lift you up. What does is the song say? Love lifted me. Thank God for those people who are willing to get their hands sticky with somebody else’s blood, for those are the people who lift us up. Let me illustrate. Years ago there was a young man by the name of Dawson Trotman. He was then head of a of ministry organization kind of like the Gideons- but a youth version - called The Navigators. Dawson Trotman and some of his friends had a camp in New York for inner-city kids. - people who have never seen a tree or a plot of grass. He had them at his camp and one day they were going out for a boat ride. Everybody was in the boat and they were having a great day together and they were getting ready to come back to the harbor to send kids home for the day. Something happened. They don’t know exactly what, but then as it happened, the boat shifted and three of the girls from the camp went over into the water. Immediately Dawson Trotman dove into the water. He paddled around and got one girl back to the boat. He lifted her up and paddled around some more and found a second girl and got her back to the boat and lifted her up. He paddled around and finally found the third girl and she was okay. He got her over to the boat, lifted her up, but Dawson Trotman could not reach the boat. One of the eyewitnesses said if the entire United States Navy had been there they could not have saved Dawson Trotman that day. They had his funeral in the Coliseum in Los Angeles. Billy Graham conducted his funeral service. Time Magazine covered the story, and underneath at the bottom of the story was a picture of Dawson Trotman with this caption: “Dawson Trotman always holding somebody up. Some people will beat you up. Some people will pass you up. And some people will lift you up.”
I invite you to the table today of one who lifted you up. The Psalmist said, “He lifted me out of the miry pit”. Jesus comes to lift you up. He left you table to remember Him by. Today we come to the table of the Lord. He lifts us up that we may lift up others. Hallelujah let us pray. Lord we thank you that you come to lift us up. In the moment we come to receive a piece of bread and some juice that it may remind us of what you have done for us and that it may remind us that we need to be like you and lift others up, instead of tearing them down. Thank you Father in Jesus’name- Amen. We are going to receive Holy Communion this morning:
On the night he was betrayed Jesus took a loaf of bread and he broke and he said: This is my body which is broken for you. Take and eat. And after they had had supper together, He took the cup and He said; This is my blood which is poured out for you. Each time you take it you know it’s in remembrance of me. This is the body and blood of Christ, broken and shed for you. Remember the one who lifts you up and leave this table with renewed commitment to be a lifter as well.