The Best Medicine

Oct 18, 2023 | The Chuck Wagon

There is an old saying that says, “laughter is the best medicine.” Although it will certainly lift one’s spirits to have a good laugh, I believe there is a better medicine. It is one that is not commonly thought of as an answer to what ails you. Jesus used it as part of His answer when asked what He thought was the greatest commandment. We all know it, and many mistakenly think they live in keeping with it. It is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31). This one statement summarizes the last six of the ten commandments.

Love is an action word. Loving someone means you will help them without expectation of any return, simply because they are in need. It is immaterial whether you know them or have never met them. The passage above is a perfect example of this. As part of His response to a lawyer’s question regarding how to inherit eternal life, Jesus told the parable of The Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37). This parable (as with most told by Jesus) has a lesson which is much easier remembered than living it out in our daily lives.

In the parable, a priest and a Levite both crossed the road so as not to come in contact with a man on the road, wounded from a severe beating. One would expect that one of these two holy men would have compassion and stop to help. Instead, it was the Samaritan (considered unclean dogs by the Jews) who tended to the man’s wounds and took him to the inn. He even gave the innkeeper the equivalent of two day’s wages and promised to pay any additional costs when he returned.

Now let’s get back to why I do not think laughter is the best medicine. Laughter is a fleeting moment in time. When the laughter ends (it always does) we are still left with whatever our problems were. Giving to someone in need takes time and compassion. The personal satisfaction that comes from helping someone else lasts far longer than the act itself. Jesus showed compassion for His people continually throughout His ministry. The act of helping someone simply because they need help does something for us deep down inside. It takes our focus off of our own problems and gives us a purpose outside of ourselves. While doing this we see there are people who are worse off than we are, and we can make a difference in their lives.

We typically spend far too much time worrying about things that will not change just because we worry. Depression, loneliness, despair, fear, and worry come from focusing on our own problems and life circumstances too much. Getting outside of ourselves to help others brings God’s blessings. That is what loving our neighbor is about. It’s not about our feelings, it’s about our service. In the end, we receive far more than we give. God blesses us for our obedience.

Have a great week and God bless.

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