A Modern-Day Parable

I want to share a story with you that I heard today at a conference called “What Love Does,” hosted by the Saint John Vineyard. It was told by Mark Taverner, a Vineyard pastor in Langley, B.C. Someone from his church had been at McDonald’s (boo) and had met a homeless guy there who asked for money for food. Even better, the guy bought him some food and sat down to eat with him.

Turns out, the homeless guy had a very good arrangement going on. A couple had opened their garage to him and let him sleep in there whenever he wanted. Furthermore, they even let him sleep inside their house on occasion.

Mark was really moved by this story to do a self-assessment: would he, or anyone in his church community, show the same kind of kindness to a homeless person? He was forced to conclude that the answer was, sadly, no.

But here’s the kicker that made it biblically wrenching: the couple allowing the homeless guy to stay in their garage? A gay couple. Suddenly, Mark realized that he was all of the wrong people in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The gay couple were the Samaritan; the societal outcasts (especially in the eyes of religious people) who knew and practiced mercy far better than their religious counterparts, who excelled in avoiding homeless people.

I’d love to believe that I’m a Samaritan, but I’d be lying.

God, help us.

8 responses to “A Modern-Day Parable”

  1. Cheers for sharing that Ariah. It would be interesting to try to re-state the parables in modern language, since most of us don’t have a clue about the agrarian metaphors that Jesus uses.

  2. Totally hits home Matt; thanks.

    You are right – the parable points out that the religious haven’t got a clue, while the unclean Samaritan had it right. And it *was* shocking!

    Moving in together has got to be a big deal; I hope I get to do it in the future.

  3. Colin:

    agreed. I think that Scripture should make us this uncomfortable.


    yeah, this rocked me.

  4. Yes, a jolting illustration — but one that needs qualification lest there be misunderstanding (and misapplication.)

    Just because the “gay couple” exhibited genuine love and care does NOT mean that the “gay couple” is justified/righteous in the eyes of GOD. All sorts of sinners have the potential to show love and kindness (including murderers, thieves, egotists, etc..), but justification does not come as the result of any good deed or effort on our part. Righteousness still requires our repentance from sin, and faith in Christ alone — and our works will bear witness.



  5. Hey Cliff

    Thanks for the comment. In no way was I trying to bring in questions of justification here, and I’m curious as to why you feel the need… That’s not what the original parable is about, and that’s not what this is about either.

    It is, rather, about having our prejudices (and especially our self-righteousness) confronted by those who religious people deem “unrighteous” doing a much better job of loving their neighbor than the “righteous.”

  6. Good thoughts from all – though important to note that the original question which brings Jesus to the parable is “how might I receive eternal life” where Jesus initial reply is “love the Lord your God with all you heart, strength, mind. . .. and your neighbor as yourself” At which point the first question of salvation is dismissed and the neighbor question comes up. (after all it is easier to evade the question of salvation if we start looking at how “good” we are. . .)
    So Cliff is right in mentioning justification even though the point of the parable is clearly actions of love, in which we fail miserably at times. So the lawyer asked the justification question to avoid the real admission that to Love God with everything and my neighbor is impossible – leaving me with the need for a Savior. . .

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