This is one of my favorite parables and I always find something new to love about it when it appears in our Bible Lesson. The theme and focus of this section of the Lesson, for me, is the importance of obeying the 'new commandment' to love one another. This parable points out just who it is we are to love. Everyone!
Today I was thinking about the inn keeper. The Samaritan took compassion on the man who had been beaten half to death. He did not judge, wondering what that man was doing heading for the Las Vegas of his day. He did not worry about whether he knew him. He did not wonder if they went to the same church or worshipped God in the same way. He went to him where he was and met the immediate need, then set him on his own beast, not leaving him where he found him. He took him to an inn, probably a place where he himself had stayed in the past. For the inn-keeper must have known him well enough to trust that the Samaritan would stand by his word when he promises to repay any further expenses.
Another inn-keeper once denied shelter to Jesus' family when they needed a place for Mary to have her baby. That man did not choose to make room for them. We do not know what this one thought about the unfortunate 'guest', but he seemed to have some faith in the goodness and integrity of the Samaritan. Wouldn't we all like to have others feel that way about us? How nice to be perceived as someone who would willingly go the extra mile to help someone in need, even a stranger. That is mercy. That is loving one another unconditionally. Even someone you don't know, someone who may have not been where they should have been. Just showing compassion without any concern about repayment or gratitude. One cannot help but wonder what the inn-keeper might have learned from this experience.
What might I learn from it? When I am given the opportunity to help in some situation can I be loving enough to trust that only good will unfold? That I won't be stuck with some unresolved issue?
Earlier in this Lesson, in Hebrews 4, there is a reference to the 'thoughts and intents of the heart'.
Is my thought pure? Is my intent to bless and see healing? We were also reminded that 'unto every one of us is given grace', it is the gift of the Christ.
I'll be thinking about all this today as I keep my own 'inn'.