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The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

This morning as I drove my 4 minute commute to church, I saw a strange and unusual sight. A man was scooting down a hill on his bottom on the sidewalk, using his arms to scoot himself. He looked more in pain than homeless. Immediately, I thought of my mom who once after attempting to defend herself from some angry birds, experienced the wind that blew the pepper spray back into her face and forced her to crawl a mile home. No one stopped to help her, but it was early in the morning and no one drove by. I heard the Holy Spirit’s wooing to stop and help him, but there was nowhere to safely pull over. I turned around, found a spot and walked toward him with my phone in hand, not knowing what I might be able to do.

He was looking down when I approached and I announced myself, “Sir, can I help you?” He shared he had sclerosis of the hip and was trying to scoot himself several blocks away to find a wheelchair. I asked if a wheelchair might help him now and he said it would be greatly appreciated. I was back within 5 minutes with a wheelchair from our church closet in hand.

By that time, two other people were outside talking to him. Three police officers drove by and countless others. No one stopped. He thanked me for stopping to help him and said I was the only one. I asked his name and he said, “James.” He shared a little about his health challenges and his 35 year addiction to alcohol and I told him I would be praying for Jesus to heal him. He thanked me.

Another person came out of their house and started talking to me. “Who are you?” she asked. “I’m the pastor at the Church of the Nazarene,” I responded. “Oh, so you’re getting points for helping this man, I see.” No, I’m not earning my way to salvation. No, I didn’t stop because I had to or believe God is making a checklist if I’m naughty or nice. In fact, I was thinking about not stopping as I had a lot to do. But the Holy Spirit urged me to stop and I did. I’m glad I did. That's what good neighbors do.

The priest in the story of the Good Samaritan didn’t stop. A man was on the side of the road, unkempt and beat up. The Levite didn’t stop. Only one person stopped, in the Bible story from Luke 10:29-37, the Good Samaritan. Samaritans weren’t popular people back in the day of Jesus. Most people stayed away from them. But this Samaritan was called ‘good’ because he stopped, took him to an inn, paid his medical bills, and had mercy on him.

We never know what the day may bring or if someone may be scooting down the street. Is the Holy Spirit urging you to stop, help someone, make a phone call? Do it. You’ll be glad you did.

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