Last Friday, my eighth graders took a test over the Parable of the Good Samaritan...and they did well! My sophomores will cover it in notes and examination in several weeks. I make the point that even people who know nothing about the Bible can tell you what a Good Samaritan is and they also know going the extra mile and recognize a Prodigal Son, often without realizing they are from the teachings of the Savior. I tell them the expert in the law who asked Jesus a question (How do I get eternal life?) already knew the answer, much like when their folks ask, Didn't I tell you to take out the trash? or What time were you supposed to come in? I teach that when the expert in the law asks, Who is my neighbor?, he really is asking, Who do I have to love? We give some reasons the priest and Levite might not have stopped- could have been a trap, might have become unclean, in a hurry, or just didn't care. I tell them the hero of the story was of a ethnicity which despised the Israelites and it was mutual but he not only put himself at risk, he invested his own time and money. (I tell them I might take a stranger to the doctor after a car wreck but it's doubtful I would pay their bill as well!) And we always end with Jesus' final words to his questioner, Go and do likewise. That might be the best advice the Christ ever dispensed.
Every year, I have all of my students rewrite the parable of the Good Samaritan and put it in their world and in their context. Yesterday morning, I was driving home from church and stopped at a light at Fondren and Creekbend. I looked over in the next lane and Tosin was waving at me! We rolled down our windows and had a thirty second conversation. What follows is Tosin's Good Samaritan story from 8th grade four years ago. What follows Tosin's is Chelsey's when she was a sophomore. Both played middle school basketball for me and are jewels. In the next several nights, I'll post some of this year's classic rewrites. For now, please enjoy the thoughts of these two young ladies....and try not to laugh!
A girl was shopping in the mall, wearing her six inch stiletto heels, when she fell and twisted her ankle. A group of girls saw her screaming in pain and took her bags. A clerk from Hollister saw her lying on the ground and thought, 'Hey! I don't have to help- she had an attitude with me!' The clerk walked around her. Next, her boyfriend and a group of his friends saw her on the floor. She thought that help had come! Her boyfriend's friends asked him, 'Dude, isn't that your girl?' The boyfriend thought, 'Man, this could really mess up my rep!' He says, 'No- just a wannabe!' Then, one of the boys from the Chess Club saw her and immediately bandaged her and took her to the nearest hospital..and she was all better.
PS: A week later, they started dating!
One day, there was this really nerdy guy who was riding his bike home from school. Out of nowhere, he got hit by a car! The driver just kept driving, not thinking twice about it. The first to walk by was the valedictorian. He looked at the boy and calculated how fast the bike was moving and how fast the car was going for him to get hit and be thrown that far. When he figured out the problem, he left and went home to start on his homework. Next, a football player ran by. He said the boy would make a good tackling dummy, laughed for awhile, and left. Then, a gorgeous cheerleader walked by. She grabbed her cell phone, and called for help. She went with the boy to the doctor. The boy ended up being the school mascot, all because of the cheerleader!
Jesus made his teachings applicable to the crowds and masses. We still have that obligation today. While we might think Tosin's and Chelsey's versions were a little bit silly, let me assure you that middle and high school kids can relate to them. I just wish I could make it this simple.
Applicable quote of the day:
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