A litmus test

May 04, 2010

This past week I heard a contemporary re-telling of the parable of the Good Samaritan.  You know the story.  It's in the New Testament.  Jesus just finishes telling his audience that one of the greatest things they could do in life is to love their neighbor, then someone asks him, "Who is my neighbor?"  So he tells a story about a man who was beat up and left to die on the side of the road.  Three people walk by but only one of them stops to help.  The story hit home for me in a new way when I heard the following adaptation by Fee and Stuart in their book How to Read the Bible (pg 133)

A family of disheveled, unkempt individuals was stranded by the side of a major road on a Sunday morning. They were in obvious distress. The mother was sitting on a tattered suitcase, hair uncombed, clothes in disarray, with a glazed look to her eyes, holding a smelly, poorly clad, crying baby. The father was unshaved, dressed in coveralls, the look of despair as he tried to corral two other youngsters. Beside them was a run-down old car that had obviously just given up the ghost.

Down the road came a car driven by the local bishop; he was on his way to church. And though the father of the family waved frantically, the bishop could not hold up his parishioners, so he acted as if he didn’t see them.

Soon came another car, and again the father waved furiously. But the car was driven by the president of the local Kiwanis Club and he was late for a statewide meeting of Kiwanis presidents in a nearby city. He too acted as if he did not see them, and kept his eyes straight on the road ahead of him.

The next car that came by was driven by an outspoken local atheist, who had never been to church in his life. When he saw the family’s distress, he took them into his own car. After inquiring as to their need, he took them to a local motel, where he paid for a week’s lodging while the father found work. He also paid for the father to rent a car so that he could look for work and gave the mother cash for food and new clothes.



When I heard this I was dismayed!  Is this was people think of Kiwanians?  Are we people who easily put our Kiwanis responsibilities above serving those in our community?  I hope not, yet I think we all know there have been times in our lives where we have made the wrong decision when we've seen someone in need.  Hearing this modern adaptation of this popular parable has made me more determined to be known as one who serves, not as one who only belongs to a service club.

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