Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Declaring Spiritual Bankruptcy – Jack Easterby

At the end of the season, we as a team were taking a look at a well-known parable in the Bible: The Good Samaritan. If you don’t know this one, stop for a second and read Luke 10:25-37.

A parable is an earthly story with a Heavenly meaning. Jesus’ intention with this story is not only to tell people to go and help each other out, you see, before we can become a good Samaritan to others, we need to see ourselves in our true state — beaten and bruised and in need of a Good Samaritan. We all start out as the man who was beat up and lying on the side of the road. Jesus is our Good Samaritan, extending His helping hand to us. So before you go and give a hamburger to a homeless guy, give $5 to the person at the bus station, or donate to charity, remember one thing: You were in need of God’s charity first.

In our culture, we tend to form relationships based on what we can do to save ourselves from being hurt. We only like people who like us, we only help people who can help us, and we only do things for people if we know they will do things for us in return. Our relationships are not covenential, they are transactional. That’s not how Jesus works.

In this story, Jesus points out that the priest, a righteous man, doesn’t stop to help the man. The Levite, who helps out in the temple — who probably came straight from serving the priest — doesn’t stop to help the man. It was the Samaritan, who we can probably liken to someone from Al-Qaeda, who stopped. Jesus told us that this Samaritan came in on an animal, saw a man in desperate need, and went to an inn to pay for the man to be taken care of. He also told the innkeeper that if there were any additional expenses needed, he would come back to pay it. WOW! This Samaritan didn’t just put up the destitute man for one night. In fact, the amount of money he paid was equivalent to at least a month’s time in the inn, and then some. The Samaritan was paying for this stranger’s mess and he was giving him hope.

Reminder: Jesus is the hero first.

We all need to declare spiritual bankruptcy. It’s not until you declare your complete dependence on Christ, knowing you’re not good enough, that you can accept the ultimate gift from the Heavenly Father. He’s already made the payment for you; He wants to extend the gift of His gracious salvation to you. Declaring your inadequacies and Christ’s sufficiency means that you become a glory deflector. This is our job on earth. When you walk outside your God-given purpose, you dissolve the glory of God. But when you walk with God, you deflect all glory to Him. Then you are doing exactly what you were created to do.

As one of our players said the other day, “If we were one play off from being perfect, we’re still not perfect.” If we are one inch off from being sinless, we need God who is. We can either be perfect or trust Jesus. Those are our only two choices. My guess is, like me, you’re probably on the side of the road and in need of a Good Samaritan. Jesus is that Samaritan, and when we accept His help, we can then be a Samaritan to others, always making sure that the glory goes to the real Samaritan.

God’s standard of grace and His level of power is more than we can comprehend. His love is self-sacrificial; it’s not something we can earn and it’s not mutually beneficial. He is for you. He wants to take you out of your mess and deposit into you the life of Christ. Have you declared spiritual bankruptcy?

“Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” — Luke 10:37

Jack Easterby, New England Patriots chaplain