A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
This is one of the most famous stories in the Bible, and for good reason. Nearly everyone who reads it identifies with someone in the story (maybe with more than one).
The man walking down the road who is attacked. You’ve been hurt and left bleeding, either literally or figuratively. You’re down on your luck. Others have not been much help.
The Levite or the priest. You were just too busy/frightened/unsure to offer assistance.
The Samaritan. You felt compelled to do something. Maybe it was how you were brought up. Or the helplessness of the one in need. Or just an explicable urging.
On Sunday we celebrated our nation’s independence (appropriately with friends, food, and fireworks), and I was reminded again how good it is to live in a place where our laws are (mostly) reasonable, our cities (generally) safe, and our people (usually) helpful. I am also reminded that there are places in the world where hunger, fear, poverty, oppression and lawlessness are the rule rather than the exception.
We have neighbors nearby and neighbors across the planet.
If you have any blessings at all in your life, don’t forget to look for the hurting on the side of the road. You can do something about it. That type of generosity sets off a different type of fireworks.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2010