"But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was;
and when he saw him, he took pity on him."
―Luke 10:33, NIV
"Have a nice day!" the woman in front of me said to the cashier as she made her way toward the door. Reaching for my wallet, I stepped up to the cash register to pay―then heard an ominous thud.
Moments earlier, the vibrant woman had imparted words of cheer. Now she lay motionless. Several employees rushed to her side while the visibly shaken cashier proceeded to ring up my purchase. Then, grocery bag in hand, I stepped around the commotion and walked to my car.
I felt horrible leaving the scene. It didn't seem right to step around scattered groceries and a dear soul's listless body so that I could move on with my day. I was morbidly struck by the ease with which my life carried on while it came to a screeching halt for another. Shouldn't I do something?
That day's dilemma may appear uncommon, but we step around those who are dying every day―seldom batting an eye or raising an eyebrow, much less sensing deep remorse or stopping to help those in distress. Our problem, in general, is not that we deliberately cross the road to avoid the man in the ditch. Our problem is, we never see him lying there.We engage in conversations with people continents away, while we fail to make eye contact with the person directly in front of us. The widespread malady of sin infiltrates our culture, and with stealth like accuracy snuffs out thousands of lives on a daily basis. It's a shadowy, silent killer. Am I a silent witness―or am I a witness at all?
The Samaritan man stopped to help his Jewish neighbor in distress. Racial barriers were no contest for his sweeping heart of mercy. He disinfected and bandaged the man's wounds, brought him to an inn, footed the bill, and took care of him. He spared no expense and was willing to give of his time and resources so a stranger's life could be restored.
Our day-to-day encounters with those who are hurting call for measures far less extreme, and yet we often fail to be the hands and feet of Christ. We underestimate the impact a random act of kindness, hearfelt greeting or friendly smile may have on someone's day. The parable of the Good Samaritan reveals the heart of Christ for those who are wounded, lost and dying. I must ask: What does it reveal about mine? Do I choose to sidestep death, or do I step into the gap to restore another's life?
The Samaritan chose wisely. The Master's words exhort us to "Go and do the same."