The parables the Savior used were pictures of human life and commonplace incidents at his time that could be understood by every listener. Parables have been called “earthly stores with heavenly meanings”.
The parable of the good Samaritan
This parable has great meaning and application in our own lives today. It is recorded in the Gospel of Luke. “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” (Luke 10: 25 – 37 in the Bible) We should be very grateful for the lawyer’s second question. From it came one of the most insightful of the Savior’s parables. We wonder at the failure of the priest and the Levite to render aid, and we say: “Surely, I would have helped. Surely, I would have stopped. Surely, I would not have looked the other way.” Would we respond if we see a person in need, as did the Samaritan?
Go and do thou likewise
There are many aspects of this parable that we could highlight, but in my opinion the important application of this parable in our life is “Go and Do Thou Likewise”
An ancient prophet saw our day and said, “For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, .. more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted…Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?” (Mormon 8: 37, 39 in the Book of Mormon)
We do live in a selfish world filled with contention, anger, hatred and not striving to lift and help each other. That said, there are many that do seek to help those in need through either personal service or financially or both among family members, friends, neighbors, work, church and other associations. Most of this help is not generally known or finds a place in the public media.
What can we do
To learn from this parable, we might consider doing the following:
• Notice the needs of others that are around us and act to help
• In our personal prayers ask our Heavenly Father to guide us to help others
• Contribute to worthy causes that help the needy
• Be kind and loving to those that suffer from physical, mental and poor image handicaps
Good Samaritanism starts in the home as parents teach children by example and precept. Acts of assistance, kindness, and concern among family members reinforce the desire to “go, and do thou likewise.”
Dallas Jones is the local leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of this column came from H. David Burton remarks General Conference, April 1997. Any questions on this parable call (231) 383-8359 or send an email [email protected] .