Business: A Sequel to the Parable of the Good Samaritan

My post today for The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics.

Here’s the beginning:

When we think of the parable of the Good Samaritan, we tend to think of the importance of charity and giving to those in need. That is one of the chief points Jesus is making. But is it possible that the parable might have something to say about work and business as well?

A Sequel to the Good Samaritan

We are all familiar with the parable of the Good Samaritan. A man is going down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and falls among robbers. Two religious people see him and pass by, but a Samaritan stops to help (and, it might be added, helps him generously and holistically).

One of the main lessons is: your neighbor is anyone in need. Now, go about the world looking to meet needs, treating others the way you would want them to treat you.

With this in mind, in his book Generous Justice, Tim Keller encourages us to consider a “sequel” to the parable. Imagine that the next day the Samaritan is traveling the road again, and comes across another person bleeding on the side of the road. A few weeks later, this happens again. And then again.

As it turns out, every time he makes the trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, he comes across another person laying in the road. Then he looks up, and sees hundreds of people likewise lying along the road, beaten and robbed. What should he do?

See the whole thing.

  • Glenn Brooke

    Matt, thanks for writing this and sharing it — I believe this is a huge opportunity for the Church to understand and activate. I’ve been in 14 countries in 2013, seen both the wealthy and the poor. We need businesses to flourish, as channels for economic blessing and living out the Gospel message.