Sunday, July 10, 2022

The Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37

Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, has this most beautiful sculpture of the Good Samaritan,* with these words:

"In Luke Chapter 10, the parable of the Good Samaritan is described.  Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.  Just as the Good Samaritan cared for and showed mercy on the beaten man, we are instructed to do likewise.  By staying true to the mission, the physicians, employees, and volunteers of Good Samaritan Regional Health Center do just that."

To this I would add only that Christ is the Good Samaritan who saw and took pity on you, saved you from death and brought you to an inn, the Church, telling the innkeeper, your pastor, to take care of you, and giving him the Means: the Word and Sacraments.

*The sculpture is by Harry Weber of Wright City, Missouri.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Carry No Moneybag

"Carry no moneybag" (Luke 10:4).

Among the multiple instructions given by Jesus to the seventy-two as He sent them out, this is the first: "Carry no moneybag."  It's important for the pastor to understand.  Paul puts it plainly when he writes that the pastor must not be "a lover of money" (1 Tim. 3:3).  He must still, however, be a lover, but a lover of God's Word and people, and the congregation and Christ.

It must be evident to the people that what is important to the pastor is the salvation of their souls and their love for each other.  I know a pastor who, to this end, asked that his salary be reduced.  I myself make it a point not to touch the offering plates during the Divine Service.

The pastor is dependent on the congregation to take care of him physically, in the same way that the congregation is dependent on the pastor to take care of them spiritually.  It's a beautiful, blessed codependence taught to us in Luke 10.

But money means little or nothing to the pastor made rich by the ministry of preaching and teaching Christ crucified and risen, baptizing, absolving, and serving Holy Communion.  Made rich, in other words, by the chance to love a congregation the way Christ loves the Church.