Remember playing the game “Simon Says?” You line up and listen carefully to the leader who calls out commands: Simon says take two steps forward, Simon says touch your head, take two steps backwards. You took two steps backwards and you were out along with several other people.
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan a man is robbed and essentially left to die next to the road. A priest walks down the same road shortly after the robbery took place. You can picture this man as your pastor if you like, after all essentially that is what the priest was; a pastor. He took a look at the man, shivered and quickly hurried by on the other side of the road. Shortly after a Levite came by. Now you can picture this man as a deacon in your church. He too took a fearful glance and hurried by on the other side of the road. The actions of the priest and Levite must have left the man in a state of confusion. If they won’t help him, who will? No doubt he has given up any hope for rescue when he hears the clip clop of donkey hoofs drawing closer to him. Maybe he manages to open his eyes to a slit only to be disappointed to see a used donkey salesman from the country of his enemies. I can picture him feeling contempt for the man coming down the road toward him, he had probably engaged in any number of derogatory conversations about people like this man. Can you imagine the shock he felt when he heard the sound of the donkey hooves stop beside him and then heard the man offer him a drink of water. I’m sure by the time the man lifted him onto the donkey his opinion of priests, Levites, and used donkey salesmen had done a complete turn around.
Do you ever wish you could literally hear the voice of God? I know I do! It seems like it would just make life so much easier if God would tell me what to do. But, you know what? He does! All I have to do is pick up the Bible and there are plenty of times that God has told me what to do right there. Take the Parable of the Good Samaritan for example, basically He is telling me to help those in need. So when I see someone in need after reading that story will I be like the priest and the Levite and conveniently brush aside what God has told me or will I listen and do His will?
Another way God speaks to us is our conscience. Most of the time our conscience speaks to us right before we are all set to do something we shouldn’t. What a dilemma we are in then; choose to listen and do the right thing or quickly brush it aside and continue on our way.
Now picture the priest, the Levite, and the used donkey salesman playing a game of ‘Simon Says’ with God. In my imagination the priest and Levite are engaged in deep theological debate over a law concerning when and how often to wash their hands in order to remain ceremonially clean. The used donkey salesman seems to be the only one actively engaged in listening to the voice of God. He takes two steps forward, one to the side, next thing you know he was do-si-doing through the game arm-in-arm with God.