GOAL: To focus on living the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) for one year.
In Matthew, chapter 15, Christ is teaching a group of four thousand men, and an unknown number of additional women and children. These followers had been listening to Christ teach for three days. Before our Lord sent them away, He wanted to be sure they were fed, “I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.”
His disciples were willing to obey, but not exactly sure how to do so—after all, they were in the middle of nowhere, a wilderness, and this was a LOT of people to feed.
The Savior asked, “How many loaves have ye?”
And they said, “Seven, and a few little fishes.”
The Savior then took the food, gave thanks and brake the loaves and fishes—giving them to His disciples. His disciples then gave this to the multitude. And “they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.”
I, too, feel that I am in a wilderness. No way to make a dent in the immense need that surrounds me. There is so much of sorrow, anger, sadness—so many, many needs and I am in need myself! So, how am I to follow my Savior’s counsel to love my neighbor?
The Savior asks us to bring what gifts we have—however small our “little fishes” may be.
The Savior gives to us, His disciples—then He expects us to take what He gives us, what He’s made of our little fishes and loaves—and give it to the multitudes around us.
As we do so, we are filled with His love, those around us are filled with His love and there is more than enough to fill everyone’s needs. As we give to the multitudes around us, our own prayers are answered.
We live in a world where enough is never enough. Where we are made to feel like only the movers and shakers can truly make a difference, but that is not so. This is a falsehood created by Satan, the great deceiver, to convince us that we have nothing to offer, so why bother trying? We need to try … we OUGHT to try because our Savior has asked—no commanded—us to do so. We are commanded to love those around us. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we are taught to look around us and to see those in need and to HELP.
After all were fed, after the thousands upon thousands had eaten until they were full (Remember, they hadn’t eaten for three days!), there were seven baskets taken up, still filled with food.
I’d like to extend a challenge—fill a basket and give it to someone in need.
About a year ago, I was suffering with a cold. I wasn’t horribly sick, just feeling generally yucky. I happened to mention feeling under the weather to my friend as we chatted one morning. Later that same day, she brought me a basket lunch! It was filled with homemade soup in a canning jar, some homemade churros, and a bottle of juice. It was perfect!
I returned the basket and jar to her a few days later, but the act of kindness stuck with me. So when another friend of mine happened to be feeling under the weather, I asked my daughter to decorate a basket with some fake flowers, as I made soup for our family and homemade bread. I stuck a jar of soup and a loaf into the basket and dropped them off to my sick friend. Similar to what I had felt myself, she expressed her appreciation and gratitude for the nurturing love when she was feeling unwell.
Since that time, I have sent this same basket to a friend who lost her job, another friend who was recovering from a hospital stay, and a few others who were just feeling under the weather.
The baskets have each differed, depending on what I happened to be making my own family—soup, maybe chili, maybe a can of soup because it’s just been one of those days … what matters to those receiving the basket has been the thought—the love behind the gesture, not the basket’s contents. (Although those homemade churros were FABULOUS!)
So, I ask you—what is in the basket that you are offering the multitudes around you? What are you doing to be as the Good Samaritan?
This last week, I felt prompted to make up another basket to take to someone who had been bedridden for a few weeks with an illness. I put off doing so, not because I’m unfeeling, but because this woman and I had not been getting along for months. She was once a dear, dear friend, but we had a falling out and I did NOT want to take time out of my busy schedule to serve a one-time friend. I felt that she had wronged me and if I was going to take the time to serve, I wanted it to be someone I wanted to serve. (Wow. Does that ever sound like a childish rant? “I don’t want to, because I don’t want to!”)
As I realized that I had already made homemade soup and bread for my own family, and the feeling wouldn’t leave me alone—I put together a basket and I texted her that I’d like to drop by a little something. Wrongly, I assumed that I would leave it on her kitchen counter, and be done with it. Good deed done, check. Move on.
She texted me back, thanking me and asked me to stop upstairs to see her. As I did so, we chatted … and chatted … We had one of the most heartfelt conversations we have ever had in the years and years of our friendship. She expressed gratitude for her illness that forced her to stay put, so she could think. She expressed gratitude for her husband’s absence, which allowed us to speak freely of the issues that had once caused discord.
As I left her home hours later, I had tears streaming down my face. I prayed in gratitude for the return of a friendship I had deemed lost.
The baskets we offer to those around us are not just to lift the weary and wounded on their roads of life—it is also so the Lord can answer the prayers of our own hearts.
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.