Two Degrees of Mercy
Wound Care: Part One
Have you, or anyone you know, ever been beat up by the world and ignored by the religious? If so, I have good news! God is raising up what I'm calling, ministers of mercy to the second degree. These people are Innkeepers for the wounded, with hearts like the Good Samaritan.
You know the story, right? Jesus told it in response to a lawyer questioning Him about how to inherit eternal life. The question that prompted the story was, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus answered by telling the story of a man who was stripped and beaten by robbers and left half dead. A priest came by, saw him and ignored him. A Levite came by, saw him and ignored him. Then a Samaritan came by, felt compassion, bandaged up his wounds, poured oil and wine on them, put the man on his beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him. He paid the innkeeper and then continued on his journey. He told the innkeeper to take care of the man and when he returned he would repay him for anything else he had to spend on him.
The reason for the title of this article is because of what Jesus said in verses 36 and 37. He asked the lawyer "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers hands?" The lawyer answered "The one who showed mercy toward him" and Jesus replied, "Go and do the same." Notice that Jesus didn't specify which three men He was talking about. He actually mentioned four--the priest, the Levite, the Samaritan and the Innkeeper. He asked the lawyer, however, which one of the three do you think was merciful.
We know that the priest and the Levite were not merciful or neighborly. They may have been religious people, but they did not show the compassion of the Lord. So we conclude that the third man is the Samaritan, but what about the Innkeeper? The Innkeeper also showed mercy on the man, even if it was to a different degree than the Samaritan.
The Innkeeper showed what I call the first degree of mercy. He took the man in for a price. The Samaritan paid him and then left him there with a promise of payment due when he returned. The Innkeeper didn't have to agree to that, but he had a certain level of mercy where he agreed to do it in anticipation of being repaid. The Samaritan however, gave of the compassion within him. He gave of his own substance--bandages, wine, oil, beast, money and time. No one promised to pay him anything for his efforts. The Samaritan, who represents Jesus, showed the second degree of mercy.
The Lord has commissioned us, like the Innkeeper, to care for those He brings to us and promises a reward when He returns. However, I believe He wants us to operate in the higher level of mercy--the second degree of mercy—as He does. The thing is, we can only do it with what He provides. He has equipped us already, and He’s promised more to come! The more He "returns" to us, the more provision we will have.
In the second degree of mercy, we are not an Innkeeper who is keeping tabs of what we have due, or how much we spend in loving others. We are Innkeepers tending to those the Lord brings our way, yet we have His heart because we are not doing it for the money or reward. We are moved with compassion just like Jesus. This is Heaven's economics. As second degree Innkeepers, we realize our provision is from the Lord. We don't look to the wounded person for our provision, but realize the Lord provides all we need to care for those He brings our way. We're not waiting for the Lord with a stingy, impatient attitude either, but we truly have His heart of love and compassion for others.
Once the lawyer saw that the merciful one, is the neighborly one, Jesus told him to "Go and do the same." Whichever degree of mercy we have a revelation of, is the degree that we will operate in. However, the closer our heart is to the Lord, the more we will become like Him in all ways. He is calling us to this second degree of mercy--to be merciful like He is merciful and compassionate like He is compassionate.
There may be times you feel like the wounded man, and you need to be restored. There may be times you feel like an Innkeeper who has gotten your eyes on the wounded around you instead of the Lord, and you need a time of remembering Him once again. Or maybe you've been impatient waiting for Him. I want to encourage you to do what you're doing with the love and compassion of the Lord, in His strength, with His provision, while keeping your eyes on Him. He will do all that He has promised! The more we long for our heart to beat in sync with His, the more we will see Him as He is and be like Him--A minister of mercy to the second degree!
When you take communion, imagine the wine, His blood, cleansing your wounds, and the bread, His body, bandaging them. Take some oil, and anoint yourself, somewhere on your body that represents His healing and deliverance.
Luke 10:25-37; Luke 6:36; 1 John 3:3; Matthew 5:8