I love the story of Robin Hood. The best version I have seen (though I haven’t seen the new movie) is the cartoon. I still whistle the little ditty from the narrating rooster, lol. I love the characterization: Robin Hood as a fox standing up for the poor rabbits, the adviser to the king is a snake, Little John as a giant bear, the clumsy guards as vultures, the sheriff is a wolf, and get this, the priest is a badger. A Badger!
What’s not to like with this guy, right? He’s a handsome critter with a persuasion toward sticking up for the little guy, an incredible marksman, has a go-get-em attitude. He’s so amazing a character, that we forget he’s an outlaw in all of this. Yes, the king is away fighting a war, and his nephew is quite the tyrant, but Robin is still robbing from the rich to give to the poor. We are empathetic to his cause though, aren’t we? It’s only fair right? We want this wonder boy to come in and save the day, right the wrongs, and stick it to “the man.” We want him to break the prisoners out of jail and take back what was theirs. We stand by and root him on, “Go get ‘em Robin!”
It ends great. Robin gets the fair maiden and King Richard returns to restore order to the kingdom.
It’s a great story, but that is it. A story. The problem starts when we bring this to reality, and we make Jesus into Robin Hood.
While I do not know if he was any kind of marksman, I know Jesus was no thief. But we do expect that he will use rich people to give to the poor, and that somehow, we who do not have much to give are not expected to. We turn ourselves into spectators. Instead of getting into the action, we stand in the crowd, and cheer on Jesus and his Merry Men. We want him to be the one to take up arms against the tyrants in our lives and restore to us what we believe was wrongfully taken (relationships, money, status).
I think that God requires more than that from us. Jesus tells a story of a man in need, a man who was destitute. He was beaten, robbed, and left for dead. Even in this state, there were people that passed him on the roadside, and left him in that condition. People with status, and the ability to help him walked by in their arrogance, feeling it was beneath them to assist.
Finally there was a man who helped. His heritage was such that the Jews called his kind half-breed, and treated them such. This hurt man, under different circumstances, may have called him a dog and spat on him. He was a Samaritan, and he put aside all these differences, put the man on his donkey and took him to town to get the help he needed. And he didn’t just dump him at the ER, he paid for the expenses, and told the help that if it wasn’t enough, he would pay the rest when he came back to town.
This is what God expects from us, no matter our situation, or how people have treated us. We are not to be the victims waiting for a Robin Hood to save the day. We are to be like the Samaritan. No matter how much or how little we have. It’s high time we (mostly talking to myself here, so “high time I”) stop waiting for someone else to make a difference. We can’t think that because we do not have the resources to help everyone, that we cannot help someone.
Someone needs what you have.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.