Daily Devotion - April 14-2021 - The Attitude of the Religious People

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – April 14, 2021
Reading:
Luke 10:30-32
Weekly Theme: Attitudes about the Needs of Others
Today: The Attitude of the Religious People

Recently I ran across an article, “Is There Such a Thing as the World’s Best Religion”?, which had a unique perspective, but the bottom-line answer to the question asked in the title was no; each religion is made up of people who choose the religion which is best for them. What does the word “religion” mean? According to Merriam-Webster, it is the belief in a god or in a group of gods: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods. Some people may describe themselves as religious which means that they in some way associate with an “organized system”. One can be religious by observing holy days, engaging in ceremonies, following a set of rules but there is not one single mention of the word “relationship” in the definition of the word. One can believe in a god or God, and if they do not form a relationship with God, they cannot have faith and trust in the god, or God, they believe exists. Religion in and of itself is empty without the presence of God.

Today’s passage introduces two religious people, a priest and a Levite, in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Both prescribed to a system of laws and observances and were probably extremely devout in following rules and rituals. Yet as they approached the poor man who had been beaten and robbed, they passed by on the other side. To them, the wounded man was a problem to be avoided. Perhaps they were on the way to one of their religious rituals and would be late if they stopped to help this person in need. Or, they may have felt they would become impure if they touched this bleeding person. It is obvious their religion did nothing to convict these two individuals to help the person in need. With great intention they avoided him, thinking that by stepping around him on the other side they would somehow be relieved of their responsibility to help a fellow human being and that he would not even notice them. Maybe they stepped around him because of his ethnicity or different religious beliefs. Regardless, they did not help him.

As Christians, we follow the example of Jesus who taught his disciples and us today how to respond to people in need, regardless of other obligations, responsibilities, or of any demographic traits that make that person“different”. God created us all to love us, to love God and as Jesus exemplified, to love our neighbors. In that moment when these two religious people walked by the injured man who was in great need, he was their neighbor, and they did not express any love for him. Being a Christian, is just that…being like Christ in that moment when God puts someone in front of you who is in need and responding as Jesus would respond with love and compassion. Being a Christian is so much more than following commandments and attending church. It is a lifestyle that is reflective of being in a relationship with Jesus and following his example and teachings. May we be empowered by the Holy Spirit to live and love as Christ taught us and as he lived himself. 

Dear God, thank you for Jesus’ stories to remind us to be Christians… followers of Christ, in a relationship with him, the One who moves us to respond and react with love to all people. In Jesus' name. Amen.

 

 
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