My dentist was becoming a Shrewd Samaritan. But how is a Shrewd Samaritan different from others with good intentions toward the needy?
If we want to genuinely help people living in poverty—and a world in the middle of a global pandemic—rather than just feeling good about believing we have helped, we are not merely to be Good Samaritans, like the man commended in the famous parable in Luke 10. We should also be Shrewd Samaritans—shrewd like the manager in the less-famous parable in Luke 16, whom Jesus also points to as an example.
In the original Greek, the word for the manager in the parable is oikonómon, which literally means “Econo-Man.” We must be people with big hearts like the Good Samaritan but with minds like the Econo-Man. This means learning to love our global neighbors wisely, one might say even “shrewdly,” by making the best use of our resources—our time, talents, and money—on behalf of those who are victims of injustice, disease, violence, and poverty.
Shrewd Samaritans have made progress through what I call the seven I’s. They have moved past ignorance, indifference, and idealism and toward investigation, introspection, and impact. They have even come to identify with those they seek to serve.
Shrewd Samaritans understand the underlying causes of poverty and need. They can identify interventions that are likely to be effective in different contexts. Their motivation is fueled by the Christian call to love our neighbors, but their means are influenced by an understanding of cause and effect and even by good science. Shrewd Samaritans are wedded to a biblical view of humanity and informed by a desire for human flourishing in all respects: physical, psychological, social, and spiritual.
Our COVID-19 response to those in need can't just be well-intentioned.
It must be shrewd.
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) October 23, 2020