The Good Sam

Friendship is something that I hold near and dear to my heart, and I think everyone kind of feels the same way. Even though it’s true that friendships can be tough, they are always worth the extra effort. That extra effort takes many forms, but because we’re all stuck at home, it’s become THAT much more important to reach out to our friends. Keeping up with FaceTime calls, Zoom hangouts, and group messages almost takes more effort than actually just saying hey when you see your buddies at school or at youth group. Sometimes my heart isn’t always in it. It’s hard to find joy in friendships when there’s so much going on outside of my house. But it’s because of these feelings that I make sure to reach out to my friends because I know that they might be feeling the same thing as me.

Jesus shares something about the value of friendship in Luke 10:25-37. Open up your Bible and read it now. In this passage, Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. He explains what that looks like through the parable of the Good Samaritan. Samaritans were considered to be undesirables during Jesus time, and yet the Samaritan in Jesus’ story went out of his way to help the man who was robbed. Good for the Samaritan, but why did Jesus tell this story to explain how to best serve our neighbor?

After reading this story, I think of what we’re going through right now. Jesus commands us to follow the example of the Good Samaritan, so what does that look like for us when we can’t even really go meet people and make sure they’re okay? I know that while some of us are having a great time playing Minecraft, there are others who are struggling with being cooped up at home. Be intentional when talking to your friends. Ask them how you can be praying for them. Ask them to join your Minecraft server, FaceTime with them, or invite them to 3:30 trivia. Be the Good Samaritan of their life.

I know that I struggle with what’s on the horizon for us, but it always brings a smile to hear from my friends. This week I’m going to challenge myself to be a good friend, a good neighbor and Good Samaritan to those around me, and I challenge you to do the same. May God grant you the guidance, wisdom, and compassion you need to be a good neighbor to your friends. I miss you, and I’ll see you soon.

– Naomi Castaneda.

Journal Guide: Answer these questions alone in your journal. They will help you process what God might be trying to tell you.
1. How does it feel to only be talking with friends over the internet?
2. After reading the Good Samaritan story, who do you think “our neighbor” is. How can we love that neighbor?
3. God says that we are His friend. What does that mean to you?
4. Take some time and write a prayer to God. Ask Him for compassion when talking with your friends.

Conversation Guide: Ask these questions to your siblings or your mom or your dad. We think around the dinner table or right afterwards is the best time.
1. How would you describe something that you couldn’t see?
2. The devotional today talked about the Good Samaritan and the value of friendship. What are some ways we can be good friends during this time of social distancing?
3. How can I be praying for you?

Prayer: Read Luke 10:25-37 and pray this quietly to God:
Dear God, I want to be a good friend even when it is hard. Help me to be compassionate and understanding when I talk to my friends. I love you so much. Amen.