Luke 10:37 And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the best known stories from the Bible. Whether you grew up in the church or not, you are likely familiar with the plot. A man was beaten, robbed, and left for dead next to the road. First, a priest was walking by, but he passed without helping the man. Second, another religious man, a Levite, came along and walked by as well. It wasn’t until the third man came that the injured man was helped.

The big twist of the story is that the third man wasn’t a religious leader. In fact, he wasn’t even a Jew at all. The man who helped was a despised Samaritan, one who would have been rejected by the Jews. However, it was this man who showed compassion and mercy to one who had been left for dead on the side of the road. It was this man that provided the example that followers of Jesus are supposed to follow!

The point of this story isn’t difficult to discern, because Jesus finishes the story with these challenging words, “You go, and do likewise.” Jesus is calling people to a life of sacrificial mercy, showing compassion to those in need and giving generously to benefit those in pain. Jesus points out that He wasn’t impressed by religious ritual and practice, but a heart that had been transformed by the Lord and that broke for the hurting and destitute.

Jesus, God in the flesh, wasn’t presenting something new. He was standing in perfect alignment with the revealed character of God throughout Scripture. It was written long before by the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 1:12,13 When you come to appear before Me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings…

Isaiah 1:15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

Isaiah 1:17 …learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

God has always called His people to have a special care and concern for the poor. He has been clear that He isn’t calling us to a life of religious sacrifice and ritual unless it is tied to a heart of compassion and mercy. He says that our religious acts are a stench to Him and that He will reject them until our hearts are transformed and we begin to show love and care to the poor.

So how do we engage? How do we join in God’s work to restore the poor and show them the love of God in the person of Jesus Christ? There are innumerable needs in the world, so how are we jumping in to show the heart of God to a lost and dark world?

In just three weeks, Grace Polaris Church will be sending out a team of 14 people to Cap-Haitian, Haiti to join in showing the love of Christ and His concern for the poor. Our team will spend a week learning from the locals who are engaging in community development work, orphan care, medical care, and church planting. We will fellowship with them, pray with them, and learn from them. We recognize that we cannot change Cap-Haitian in a week, but we can show our solidarity with those doing the long-term work of ministry in that city while being challenged and learning in the process.

Please pray for us! Pray that God would work in our hearts in a mighty way as we prepare for the trip and as we engage with people in Haiti. Pray that God would allow us to see people as He sees them and care for them as He cares for them. Pray that we would be challenged and that we would be an encouragement to our Haitian brothers and sisters.

We know that we cannot change Haiti during our brief time there, but we pray that God would allow us to serve as partners in the long-term process of spiritual and physical ministry in Cap-Haitian. May He receive all the glory as His church is built, both here and across the globe!

Dustin Speaks is the Mission Mobilization Pastor. He and his wife, Lauren, arrived in Columbus in the fall of 2012, after several initial ministry experiences. Dustin previously served as an associate pastor in South Dakota and as a missionary to university students in Berlin, Germany. Dustin studied history at Ohio University, where he met Lauren, and was involved in campus ministry with Cru. After graduation, the Speaks went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Chicago) to complete a degree in Intercultural Studies. He enjoys playing nearly all ball sports—basketball, golf, and soccer are his favorites. Dustin and Lauren have three young children.