“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy. Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” Luke 10:36-37
Jesus used to tell stories to teach His disciples what it looks like to live in His kingdom. Here is what one of them might have sounded like if Jesus had told it to you today.
*Note: While you may recognize some names in this short story, know that the account is completely fictional and should not imply that any individuals named would ever behave in the manner to which they are credited.
One day Tyler Gerig decides to meet TJ Swore and Nate Phillips for lunch at El Taco Express. Tyler has something he has do to first so he tells his friends he’ll meet them there shortly. When he is almost to Gas City a crazy driver in a big truck cuts him off and Tyler, swerving to avoid a collision, finds himself in the ditch. Tyler is dazed but mostly unhurt. He starts to get out of his car. At that same time a rusty, old Camaro with dark tinted windows pulls up behind Tyler. Out jumps a dark haired guy with his hair greased back. He runs up to Tyler and demands all of his money (this guy obviously doesn’t know that college students just don’t have a lot of money). Before Tyler can react the greasy guy pulls out a tire iron and clocks Tyler alongside the head leaving a nasty gash that is now bleeding profusely. He runs off leaving Tyler unconscious at the side of the road.
Not long after this the youth pastor from a nearby church sees Tyler’s car in the ditch and notices Tyler lying alongside the road. He’s just come from a meeting with a disgruntled parent who has complained that he meddles too much in her son’s life. As a result he’s vowed to not butt in where he hasn’t been invited. The timing couldn’t be worse...but he has just made this vow. Can’t break it now. He drives on by.
Soon after this Chaplain Cavanaugh is driving through on his way to an important meeting. He sees Tyler’s car in the ditch but it’s out of his way and he’s already late. He too keeps driving.
A little while later an IWU wide receiver rolls through on his way to lunch at Ivanhoe’s. He sees Tyler’s car and unconscious body along the side of the road. Feeling compassion for him he stops to see if there’s anything he can do to help. He pulls a clean towel from the back seat of his car and walks over to Tyler. “Wow!” he says quietly, “You sure can hit hard. But look at you now!” Kneeling down, he wipes blood from Tyler’s face, gently rousing him to consciousness. “We’ve got to get you to the hospital,” he says as he helps Tyler up from the ground. Abandoning his own lunch plans he helps Tyler into his car and drives back to Marion to the hospital where he waits with Tyler in the waiting room. When Tyler hasn’t been called after a half hour, the IWU receiver tells the nurse he needs to get to class so he won’t miss his test. He leaves a $50 dollar bill on the desk. “I’ll be back when I’m done,” he cheerfully calls. “Please take care of my friend. I’ll pay the rest when I get back.”
Shocking, right? That’s exactly what Jesus wanted! Jesus now asks you, “Who is your neighbor?” Do you take the time to help someone who needs help - even if it’s someone you consider a rival? Are you willing to put the needs of others ahead of your own? Be like the IWU player (i.e. Samaritan). Don’t be an enemy. Be a friend.