SIMPLE TRUTH: Levites with Samaritan hearts

Published 4:07 pm Thursday, January 31, 2013

By Charles Christmas

If a person knows anything at all about the Bible, he/she will have heard of Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan.

The story is about two leaders in the organized religion of the community who did not have either the time or compassion to help a man in desperate need.

Yet, a sort of agnostic outsider, called a Samaritan, had enough compassion and ingenuity to act by investing his time, physical efforts, financial resources and administrative abilities to meet the needs of this man in desperate need.

Jesus came to give “Samaritan hearts” to Levites and to all others of his would-be followers.

This is not a technical article; therefore the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid) method applies.

So for my practical purpose, Levites represent the helpers in a local church: stewards, deacons, committee members, Sunday school workers, other organizational workers, etc.

OK? Get it? And my point is this: If you will use your brains and open your eyes, you will remember and presently see persons in Chilton County and elsewhere who are Levites, but with Samaritan hearts.

First, let me introduce you to one of my close friends, John Jackson, of Louise’s hometown of Thomasville in Clarke County.

I subscribe to The Thomasville Times to keep abreast of her county’s happenings, and last week’s featured article on the front page was titled “Civic leader Jackson dies.”

This was my friend, John. The article underscored the following: He previously owned and operated the city’s major grocery store, served on the city council for 16 years and was a member of the school board.

The former mayor was quoted as saying, “He was my right-hand man, and always conscious of doing things right.”

The present mayor was quoted as saying, “He was a man of utmost character and always tried to find ways to get things done. His vision and long-term leadership are why we are where we are today.”

John was also a committed Christian, member of Thomasville Baptist Church, deacon, Bible class teacher and church leader.

Now how does the above paragraph relate to a Samaritan heart? Because those facts underscore that John was my “Levite,” but the main thrust and the majority of space in the newspaper article related to John and a homeless and hungry traveler.

Quoting from the Times article: “In the years following his service on the city council, Jackson became known for his dedicated work with the Salvation Army. He was instrumental in establishing the Salvation Army offices, ministries and facilities both in Thomasville and Jackson, Ala. On his way to church one fateful Sunday morning, a homeless traveler asking for a meal and a place to stay approached Jackson. He invited the man to the church service, mainly to give himself time to think about how to help the man. Jackson said that ‘during the service, God pressed upon me the need of a Salvation Army in my town, and soon a branch was established here. God deserves the credit. He wanted it here and gave me the blessing to help get it started.’ In 2006, he received the William Booth Statue Award for his years of service to the Salvation Army.”

He was a Levite with a Samaritan’s heart.

John’s example in Thomasville is only similar to hundreds of examples of larger or smaller proportion, in the laypersons in the present and from the past and in the churches of all races and denominations in Chilton County.

The ongoing serving ministries in our county were either initiated by one or more members of county churches or are presently led by or receive their primary support from members of churches of the county.

Examples of this truth are: Emergency Assistance Center, United Way, Raleigh’s Place, By the Grace of God Ministries, Care Net, Kiwanis and the hundreds of individual church ministries of compassion and care.

Please remember, these are only samples of the many more that are very evident, and the many, many more known only to God. Jesus calls us to have a Samaritan heart and action. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.