Jesus tells a story in Luke 10 that you might be familiar with as The Parable of the Good Samaritan. Three different men happen upon a man who was robbed, beaten, and left half dead on the side of the road.The first two men, both respectable religious figures, see the man in his pain and move to the other side of the road to avoid coming to his aide. In contrast, the Samaritan man had compassion on this stranger and sacrificed of himself—his time, energy, and money—to take care of him.

We know the right answer is to follow the example of the Samaritan man, but can we blame the priest and the Levite for avoiding the man in need? Maybe the priest was on his way to an important meeting and the Levite was too worried about his upcoming bills to help. The inconvenience of reaching out was too great for them.

Do you have time for compassion?

We don’t know where any of these characters were headed on their journeys, but it’s clear that the Samaritan man decided that whatever he was going to do was less important than caring for this hurting stranger. His compassion made him willing to be inconvenienced. As he shows us, it takes time, energy, and effort—three things that will always appear to be in short supply—to care for our neighbors in need.

Our neighbors are both the people next door (whose name you’ve hopefully learned recently) and, in our increasingly globalized world, the broken and needy across national borders. The two men who came before the Samaritan weren’t blind to the problem in front of them, but their lack of compassion led them to the other side of the road. When choosing to help others—across the street or across the seas—the inconvenience will always be there; it’s whether or not we choose to have compassion and sacrifice of ourselves that makes the difference.

Jesus himself set the example of someone who sacrificed his own comfort for others. Philippians 2:6-7 reminds us that Jesus, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” We follow a God who took on the inconvenience of human flesh to address our brokenness and need.

Are you willing?

So, are you willing to be inconvenienced? Are you willing to deny yourself time to sleep in on Sunday to serve kids at church? Are you willing to use your vacation time to reach out to the lost in Poland? Would you give up one latte a week to help make sure an orphan in India can go to school? Or, could you open your home to foster a child in our community? Whatever need God has placed in front of you, it will not be convenient to meet it, but it will be worth it.

Let us pray that as the problems in our world only seem to grow larger and more complicated we will become more like Jesus by growing in compassion and willingness to be inconvenienced for the sake of the broken.