Friday, July 28, 2017
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Back in the day, millions of Americans visited the emergency room once a week - well, on television. That was a blockbuster TV hit called "ER" and it very convincingly took its viewers into the tension and crisis environment of a hospital emergency room. They kind of made you feel like you were there. Of course, they're not the only medical personnel involved in a crisis care situation. I was reminded of that the other day on the interstate as this ambulance passed us. Of course, the back has those big red letters: "AMBULANCE." But this particular ambulance had sort of a subtitle - the one that raised my eyebrows and made me smile. The whole sign on the back said, "ambulance - the real emergency room." OK!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "God's Ambulance".
Actually, that ambulance may have a point. After all, the people who administer treatment on the scene, right where the emergency need is, they sort of are the real emergency room, or at least the first one. Of course, not all emergency needs are medical. Every day people around us are facing what they consider an emotional emergency, or a financial emergency, a family emergency, a relationship emergency. And they need someone there who cares; someone who may not be a highly-trained surgeon or therapist, but who can administer some primary emergency care - God's first responder. So who are God's ambulances; His emergency rooms on wheels (or would that be legs)?
Well, our word for today from the Word of God is Luke 10 beginning in verse 31. It's a familiar story that should make us examine ourselves every time we hear it. Jesus has just announced that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Trying to wiggle out of that responsibility that goes with that commandment, one man says, "Well, who is my neighbor?" Jesus answers him with the unforgettable story of a man who is attacked on the highway by robbers, left stripped, beaten, and bleeding.
Verse 31: "A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, passed by on the other side." Then another religious leader encounters this victim on the road and he "saw him and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan came where the man was, and when he saw him, he took pity on him." Jesus goes on to describe how this Samaritan was, in effect, God's ambulance to bandage and disinfect and get the man to a place where he could recover.
Then comes Jesus' bottom line: "'Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man?' The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise'" (verses 36-37). Now you're around broken people or breaking people all the time; people who are wounded, they're hurting, they're bleeding inside. And Jesus is calling you to be a walking emergency room for people like that. He was.
What attracted Jesus to people was not how attractive they were or how well-placed they were or what they could do for Him. No, in any crowd, Jesus walked past multitudes to the person who had the greatest need. Are you like that? One of the measures of how much your heart is becoming like your Master's is how much your heart is moved and how attracted you are to the people who are hurting the most.
If you're a follower of Jesus, then He wants every day to be a mercy mission for you. You are, like that ambulance crew, right there on the scene where the wounded person is. You're in the best position to love them, to listen to them, to encourage them, to pray with them, to help them get to the emergency room where there may be more trained help. But you are "the real emergency room"!
So ask your Lord for His insight into the people you meet, His love for them, His ability to look beyond their aggravating deeds to their needs underneath. Ask Him for His words to help ease the pain and to start the healing. You're God's ambulance that's first on the scene. And so the healing starts with you!