Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Perhaps you’ve heard the Parable of the Good Samaritan before. It’s such a great illustration of what it means to be a good neighbor. While the Samaritan was a foreigner, a stranger, it was he who behaved in a neighborly manner.
I am happy to say that there are still many good neighbors out there. During this weekend’s snowfall, many people went out to start clearing snow, only to find that some kind neighbor had already done so. Where cars were stuck, people helped push them out.
I was home snug as a bug during the worst of this snowstorm, but I was in the position to help push a car out a few weeks ago. I actually debated whether or not to go help, because I had my children there with me, and I wasn’t quite sure how best to situate them while I helped. Once I worked that out, I was able to lend a hand. I am glad, not only for the motorist who was stuck, but also for my children and my own conscience. I think helping was a better example for my kids to see than driving away because it wasn’t convenient. There are times when helping just isn’t safe or possible, but there are also times when it is just a question of willingness or convenience. I am sure I have passed opportunities to help because I was in a hurry, perhaps even in too much of a hurry to notice the need.
In this hurry-up culture, I am happy to see so many people willing to slow down and help their neighbor. I am often in a hurry myself. It will be a good goal for me to keep my eyes open for situations where I can help out, and to be willing to take the time to do so.