Last week I stopped at a grocery store. I noticed an older lady in a wheelchair, leaving the store, pushing herself along and kicking at her cart of groceries. I also saw the well-dressed executive in nice shoes make his way past her, as well as the young people who almost bumped into her because their eyes were glued to their phones. She continued to push and kick along, determined to arrive at her destination outside. It’s hard to control a shopping cart with just your foot when you’re old and your hands are busy pushing along at the wheels of your wheelchair, and the cart veered off a time or two as I continued to watch. Finally I approached her and asked if I could help; she was very grateful as I took over the cart while she could concentrate on her chair and we both made it to her ride outside and got her and her groceries settled in. This is not to pat myself on the back and please don’t give me any accolades; in my lifetime I’ve passed plenty of people who were in need of a helping hand. Why don’t we stop to take time to help our fellow man when we see they are clearly in need of assistance?
Jesus made this same point in Luke 10. “A man was going down the road and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw the man he passed by on the other side. So likewise a teacher, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a foreigner, a Samaritan, was traveling, and he came to where the man was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out some money and gave it to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’”
Here’s the kicker at the end: Jesus asks, “So what say you? Which of these three proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” And which person are you? Where is the mercy? Must we not go and do likewise?