But the teacher of the Law wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered, “There was once a man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attacked him, stripped him, and beat him up, leaving him half dead. Luke 10:29-30, GNT
Perhaps many of you are familiar with the Bible story about the Good Samaritan, but if not, here is a quick synopsis. As the Scripture above begins, there was a man who was walking the road from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was robbed, beaten and left for dead. Jesus always had a point to make with his stories; something important he wanted his listeners to understand. Both a priest and a Levite walking the same way came upon the man lying beside the road, but neither bothered to help him. Only a lowly Samaritan passing by took pity on the man. He bandaged his wounds, put him on his donkey, took him to the nearest inn, and took care of him. When he left, he gave the innkeeper money to cover any additional expense for the wounded man’s care.
There are still Good Samaritans in this world. Perhaps you can name a few in your life who have aided you without demanding reimbursement. I can think of a few as well. Recently I had the privilege of assisting someone who is selfless in her giving and I would like to share this story with you. No, it’s not a grief story as much as it is a story to empower us to look about for someone who needs our help. For I have discovered in my own journey that when I am helping someone else, I am less focused on my own pain. When helping someone else, we are both blessed.
My “selfless” friend and I were planning to attend a Christian Women’s Retreat in the next town. It would be just the two of us. We looked forward to this time away which would give us the opportunity to catch up on each other’s lives since we don’t often get to do that. But then another lady asked to join us for the event. It was a special request, asking for much more than she could give in return. You see, this lady has a disease which has rendered her total care. So what she was asking for was more than a ride; she was asking my friend and me to provide the care normally given by her loving husband. Were we willing? Were we up to the task? She encouraged my friend to come to her house to see the care involved, but she never went. Instead my friend asked me if I was willing and if the two of us could provide the care needed? Together we decided to lean on the Lord for strength and commit to taking this lady with us.
I will readily admit that this was no piece of cake. From the get go, helping and observing the technique required to get this lady from wheelchair to car seat made us both aware of the challenges that lay before us. Too late to back out now so forward in faith we would go. The ride gave us time to get re-acquainted, sharing together about our lives. In the back of my mind I was wondering how on earth are we going to manage to transfer our friend as many times as will be required plus get her ready for the day’s events all by ourselves? The only answer had to be God will provide.
As we stood in line to be checked in for the retreat, another friend showed up who had moved away years before. What a grand reunion! And instantly we enlisted her to help us to get our friend settled in our room. Already God was providing! Over the next day, she was often there to provide a 3rd pair of hands in the lifting from wheelchair to potty to chair to bed etc. We were instantly bonded for life while trying to preserve our friend’s dignity without giving her a wedgie in all the clothing ups and downs in the tasks involved. No, we never dropped her on the floor. Yes, we came close, but in those priceless moments I will treasure forever, we laughed uproariously at the funny picture we made in the attempts to do the impossible. Obviously God was there doing the power work because you are looking at one very short, tiny woman, one weak woman with a bad back and a third who was poised in the the “snap” position to adjust clothing for the on and off bathroom detail. (You probably recognize the football term “snap” referring to the football transfer from the center to the quarterback.)
Not to be too vivid in description, but picture four women behind closed doors in the handicap stall trying to accomplish the necessary duty with dignity and grace only to end up howling with laughter. If someone happened to wander in to use the facilities while we occupied the handicap stall, they probably assumed there was a party going on and reverse directions.
These scenes have replayed over and over in my mind. They are priceless memories for me and hopefully for the other Samaritans as well. Our dear friend may never get to attend another Retreat like this one. She may have had to get her fill from the topics, “Love and Forgiveness” to last her the rest of her life. How very brave of her to ask others to provide such personal care. How very brave of her to trust those who have little experience of their own. How so like Jesus to offer hands, feet and heart to bless us all.
After we returned our friend safely back to her home, we collectively breathed a sign of relief. We did not drop her on our watch! Both of us assumed it likely that God supplied the muscle as we shared the willingness to try.
So I have introduced you to Ms. Good Samaritan. She’s the one who said “yes” when it would have been easier to just say “no”. She’s the one who admits that if she had gone to our friend’s home to check out how to lift and transfer, she would have said “I can’t”. But for some unknown reason she didn’t make that house call. Was the “unknown reason” God’s doing?
All God asks is for us to be willing and he empowers us to do the seemingly impossible. Perhaps you will be given the opportunity to reach out and help another when you assume that you cannot. Go ahead. Cross to the other side of the road where someone lies in need. Say a little prayer for help and God will provide. Somehow, like the women in this story, there is a blessing just waiting to be enjoyed . . . and savored in heart-warming detail.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40, NIV