Bringing the Text to Life

What Is a Good Samaritan? Luke 10:25-37

In a world that teaches achievement (doing), Jesus teaches us the values of aliveness (being).

The essence of Christianity is being, not doing. As Billy Graham has been preaching to the world for 40 years, if you want to make a difference, you have to be different.

This was the error of the lawyer Jesus spoke with in today's gospel text. The lawyer wanted to reach his goal, his desired finish line of "eternal life" by doing something, by achieving something. The Good Samaritan parable demonstrates that we cannot do discipleship. We must be disciples. We must be the neighbor to each person we encounter. Only when we become Christ's messengers of faith, love and hope in this world do we become truly alive, living participants in eternal life. "To do" is achievement; "to be" is aliveness.

From kindergarten on, we are trained in the skills of achievement, of "to do." We are utterly ignorant about the skills of aliveness, of "to be," about how to be fully alive to life. Soren Kierkegaard captured our confusion between achieve- ment and aliveness powerfully when he wrote: "The...

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