The Power of One: A Lesson From the Good Samaritan

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Reflective post examines the power of one, teaching a sobering lesson from the Good Samaritan. What would happen if all Christians just helped one?

“So many people talk about changing the world, but you guys are actually doing it,” my brother told me with tears in his eyes and a quivering chin.

He’s rather enamored with our foster children.

My youngest brother…the real live baby doll I held and rocked as a thirteen-year-old while singing “Edelweiss.”

He was the wayward teen my heart prayed for with tears while he wandered, and then rejoiced for with tears when God’s grace captured him.

He has always been a person who just loves people. His heart is open, his hugs are warm, and his smile is infectious.

He’s the man who wants to serve in the Peace Corps. Who wants to minister to disadvantaged people in foreign lands. And maybe someday, right here at home.

(Preferably within a one-hundred mile radius of me, but I digress…)

To say I was humbled by his open admiration is a vast understatement. I still have tears in my own eyes as I’m remembering it.

Because the thing is, I don’t feel like I’m changing the world.

Most days, I’m thankful to manage to change out of my pajamas.


But as I considered my brother’s words, God brought a different Word to my mind. A Word about a traveler who happened upon someone in need. A Samaritan who happened upon a wounded man who had been the victim of a violent crime.

“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was,

and when he saw him, he had compassion.”

Luke 10:33

A Lesson from the Good Samaritan

It occurred to me as I pondered this parable that our well-known “Good Samaritan” understood the power of one.

You see, he got an education he likely wasn’t looking for on the road that day. He came face to face with a reality he had perhaps only ever heard about. That road from Jericho to Jerusalem was infamously dangerous, often referred to as the “Way of Blood.”

What must he have thought when he saw a prostrate figure in the distance? A vague form lying by the roadside? Did he expect to be attacked himself?

As he drew closer and could see clearly the body of the injured man, did he wonder if the perpetrators were still close by? Did he suspect that perhaps the man was feigning injury in order to fool passersby and victimize them?

I can’t say that I blame the priest and the Levite all that much for walking by the man without stopping to help. Because I know too well how easy it is to find an excuse to do nothing.

But the Samaritan didn’t take the easy way out.

And do you know what else he didn’t do?

He didn’t look over the man’s injuries while tearfully shaking his head in dismay, muttering, “Poor guy,” before turning away.

He didn’t leave the man bleeding and return home to bemoan to his friends about all the hurting people on the road these days.

He didn’t abandon the man in need and petition the government for more patrols on the roads to improve traveller safety.

And he didn’t leave the man alone, wishing there was more he could do about all the violence in the world, assuaging his inaction with a decision to call a prayer meeting for the man’s healing when he arrived home.

What did he do?

He just helped one.

And our Lord affirms the power of one in his admonition to the disciples just a few verses later:

“You go, and do likewise.”

Did the Good Samaritan change the world?

Of course he did…

for one.

And as far as Jesus was concerned, that was enough.

I have no doubt that my keenly intelligent and truly tender brother just might change the world for multitudes of people.

On the other hand, I’ll be just as proud if he changes the world…

for one.

Reflective post examines the power of one, teaching a sobering lesson from the Good Samaritan. What would happen if all Christians just helped one?

More top posts on engaging the world:

What Would Jesus Say to a Homosexual?

Fresh Approach: A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality

Christianity and Transgenderism: Moved With Compassion


Want more encouragement in your Christian walk?

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16 Replies to “The Power of One: A Lesson From the Good Samaritan”

  1. Leah Adams

    What a wonderful reminder that most people are not called to change the world in huge ways. We are called to change the world one heart and life at a time. Thank you for the reminder. Have a blessed day.

    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      You’re right, Moira! It’s easy to find excuses not to take action. But it’s important to remember that there are also times when God may lead us to refrain from taking action. HE is the true Healer and Redeemer, after all, and perhaps He wants to provide for someone in another way. It’s so important to stay in close relationship with Him, so we can follow His leading in these matters, isn’t it? Thank you for your ongoing encouragement, friend.

  2. Regina

    I may not can change the world but I can change my nephew’s world who I’m currently raising and soon going to try and adopt. I can try to help change those in need’s world that I come in contact with daily . I may not can do major world changes but I can help someone in need to find the Lord, and that changes everything.

  3. Ginger Harrington

    Oh friend, now that’s a powerful word of exhortation! You’re brother reminds me of my son, who I am talking about in my post today. How I love that God works wonders in the lives of those we love–and then spreads the blessing.

  4. Jeannie Pallett

    …visiting from Grace and Truth (thank you) . We all have been won by one when you think about it. HE said, now go and do the same. A direct and personal command to each one of us and an opportunity to use the gifts He gave each one of us in the field best suited for the greatest yield. As much as HE controls the wind and the roar of the seas, so He is in charge of the ripple effect our lives have. Be blessed knowing your ripple is large and wide.

    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      I love that descriptor, Jeannie: the ripple effect. I just can’t get over the grace of a God who saves us, and then allows us the supreme fulfillment of being a source of blessing to others. Thank you for being a source of blessing in my life! 🙂

  5. Melanie

    Ok, surreal. I rocked and held my baby doll brother when I was thirteen as well. This is Twilight Zone-esque. 😉 We really are kindred spirits!

  6. Rebekah

    Thank you – I needed this reminder today.
    It’s hard to remember, in pajamas and schedules that run wild, that we actually are making a difference. Thank you!


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