(Jesus said) "But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." Luke 10:33-37
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
In Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan the Lord holds up an example of care and compassion that He would have us follow. Sadly, many people don't, and I have often wondered why.
We know that men often demonstrate kindness or their own goodness when they have an ulterior purpose, a purpose which benefits them.
Look at the work of artists, philanthropists and politicians, and you will see many who are glad to be of help to others, as long as there is some kind of public recognition for them. Without that acknowledgement of their actions, it often seems their good-deed-doing seems to suffer. Understand, that's not my idea. It comes from Scripture, where it says in Proverbs 20:6, "Many men will proclaim everyone his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?"
I recently read an article about serotonin, a chemical which is secreted by the brain. Interestingly, serotonin is also known as the "well-being drug." It is a chemical that directly affects our moods and is prescribed by thousands of doctors to whole herds of patients who are going through difficult times or who are fighting stress, sadness, anxiety, depression and a host of other problems.
A recent study showed that if an individual receives some kindness from another, his serotonin levels rise and that gives him a sense of well-being. The same reaction happens when you perform an act of kindness toward others.
Perhaps the most incredible bit of information the report shared was this: if someone sees another person doing an act of kindness to others, the watcher's sense of well-being is also elevated. Now you would think, with all of these positive, serotonin-fueled feelings flowing all around us, people would continuously be doing kind acts toward others.
But that's not happening, is it?
Maybe a clue can be found in Galatians 5:22, where it says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness."
It would appear that kindness toward others is not just motivated by a chemical. This passage says goodness is a fruit of the Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit moves us to mercy as we try to show our appreciation to the Lord, who is the ultimate Source of goodness. It is the Father's love, which moved Him to make the greatest act of kindness in the history of humankind: the sacrifice of His beloved Son, our Savior. In Jesus' life, in His death on the cross of Calvary, and through His glorious resurrection we are given salvation.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may the Holy Spirit continue to encourage us and move us to daily do acts of kindness, goodness and mercy to others. And then, we ask that You use those acts to let others see the great love You have given us. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Edilberto Méndez Mora. Mr. Mora has been a contributor and volunteer at our office of Christ for All Nations - Panama since 1992. He has been a member of our staff since 1997 and our director since 2004. Lutheran Hour Ministries has been located in Panama since 1985. It was recognized by the Panamanian State in 1996 as a nonprofit, religious entity that serves society and whose primary purpose is the proclamation of the Word of God to unbelievers.
With its ministry center in Panama City, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Panama makes Gospel connections through printed materials, "live" events, mass media and the Internet, holistic outreach, and other means. Using Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), individuals are instructed in the basic tenets of the Christian faith and how to put them into operation in their lives. Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops train laypeople to share their faith with others, in order to build bridges via the Gospel. Helping young people make healthy lifestyle choices is the role of Project JOEL, a program teaching faith-based values that has been successfully integrated into the curricula of public schools, giving teachers a valuable resource to help them foster and promote constructive values.
Volunteers are special. Take a look at how LHM-Panama's volunteers are making a difference in the culture of this Central American country of more than 3.5 million people. You can read about it by clicking here to visit its blog.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries