"Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,[e] telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’" ~ Luke 10:34-35
Most of us know the story of the Good Samaritan, don't we? About how a Jewish man was robbed and beaten and left for dead along the side of the road, and even priests couldn't be bothered to help him. Finally a Samaritan man, a man of another race, a race that historically couldn't get along with the Jews, stopped and helped - at great personal time and expense. Great neighbor - great example, right?
I recently heard a story of another man. A man who sliced into his fingers while working at one of those national home improvement stores. This man knew immediately that something was wrong, and looking down, he saw his own bones. He bent his fingers and gripped them tight, but nothing was stopping the blood from flowing, for he had severed an artery.
Before long blood was all over the aisle where the accident happened.
I'm thinking that even tiny cuts, when to the bone, when one's arteries are sliced open, make big messes.
Someone had to realize that something was seriously wrong - that this was not a paper-cut type of injury.
Yet, although the store manager was aware of the injury, the man bent over, trying to wipe his own blood off the floor.
Nobody stopped him.
Finally a friend shooed him away, and the store manager asked what he was going to do.
The man replied that he was going to hospital.
Shouldn't this have been obvious? Shouldn't the blood sprayed around the store been a clue that emergency treatment was necessary?
The manager agreed that a hospital visit was a good choice - and waved goodbye as the man left the store to drive himself to the emergency room - severed artery, two sliced fingers, exposed bones and all.
Couldn't anyone have been spared for ten minutes to drive him there? Aren't people more important than nail guns and drywall?
We humans have gotten increasingly busy over the centuries - and with our busyness comes an inflated sense of self-importance. Really, is that e-mail that important? Will the next sale make or break the world as we know it? Is our stuff more important than the people around us?
Jesus asks us to disrupt our day. He wants us to love our neighbors, and they won't always fit conveniently on our schedule. Sometimes they're messy and needy and irritating - but Jesus doesn't ask us to love only the pretty neighbors, the neighbors with altogether lives, the ones who smell great and make a mean cookie. He holds up the Good Samaritan and the beaten Jew as an example - two men whose races were worse than the Hatfields and McCoys.
In the end, following Jesus is always more important than whatever thing we have on our earthly agendas. Only by setting aside our plans and picking up His can we truly follow Him.
“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, please disrupt my plans today and show me Yours. Open my eyes to the people in need around me. Amen.
Who could you reach out to today?