In their book Being the Body Chuck Colson and Ellen Vaughn recount a startling confession made by Max Cadenhead to his church, The First Baptist Church of Naples, Florida:
My message today is on the parable of the Good Samaritan," Max announced. "Let me start with an illustration.
"Remember last year when the Browns came forward to join the church?" he asked. Everyone nodded; the Browns were a very influential family. "Well, the same day a young man came forward and gave his life to Christ. I could tell he needed help—and we counseled him." No one nodded; no one remembered.
"We worked with the Browns, got them onto committees. They've been wonderful folks," Cadenhead said to muffled amens. "The young man…well, we lost track.
"Until yesterday, that is, as I was preparing today's message on the Good Samaritan. I picked up the paper, and there was that young man's picture. He had shot and killed an elderly woman."
Chins dropped throughout the congregation, mine included, as the pastor continued. "I never followed up on that young man, so I'm the priest who saw the man in trouble and crossed to the other side of the road. I am a hypocrite."
I’m not sharing this with you in order to point a finger at anyone but myself. How often have I had to choose, as a preacher, which people were “worthy” of my attention? And how often have I made that choice based on a simple cost-benefit analysis: Who is more influential? In the end, which of these people will require more work on my part? Who is it easier to talk to? Which person will boost my ego?
Perhaps you have noticed the glaring omission in my decision process. The question I too frequently fail to ask is, “What does God want me to do here?” In our Bible passage this morning we’re going to be reminded that this is the first question Jesus wants us to consider.
Our “acts of righteousness” must begin with an awareness that God alone will determine their value. That’s easier said than done. I have failed at this more frequently than I care to admit. If I’ve done this to you, I’m sorry.
I pray this morning that I can become more concerned with God’s view of me and less concerned with others’ view of me.

Robert Lee