I was reminded of the Good Samaritan today…
This morning on my way into church, there was a vehicle with a flat tire. I told an usher (I don’t usually go there) and he looked out, shrugged and said he didn’t know whose it was. He didn’t go out of his way to find out, either. I told another, and he didn’t help either. After church I waited around. The vehicle didn’t leave… most people did. I left a note under the wiper blade and went back in one last time to ask if it belonged to a friend of mine who lives out in the country, knowing she wouldn’t be able to change it or air it up where she was headed. The pastor was the first one I saw, and I asked if he knew anything about the vehicle. Immediate concern, and then ‘I hope it’s not…’ He looked out, immediately thanked me and went out to look at the tire. It apparently belonged to someone who was struggling with some things. If we’d let them drive off, they might have had to pay for a tire they couldn’t afford, and more than that, they might have wondered if anyone cared. As it was, they came out to find the pastor and a deacon down on their knees looking for the nail in the tire and (I’m guessing) offering to fix it for them for free. Wish those things happened much more often.
I’m still sorting through that. I’ve been debating going regularly to this church. Frankly, the services don’t impress me, but it’s only about three blocks from my house, services are decent, I have several friends there, and… well, several reasons that don’t make it a good church but don’t make it bad either. I like the pastor. He seems to have his head screwed on straight. He listens and is involved but doesn’t put himself forward. If I hadn’t gone back in that last time to check on my friend, and he hadn’t responded as he did, I probably wouldn’t have gone back more than once more. The others I asked really didn’t seem to care. One had even forgotten about it when I went back to ask if he’d found the owner. But his response and the deacon’s (my friend’s husband)… I could live with a church with that kind of heart.
Then too, I was embarrassed because I left after I knew someone would take care of it. But there’s nothing I could have done if I’d stayed. “Yup, it’s flat alright.” They knew that. My extra input on that matter wouldn’t have been helpful at that particular moment. So I know that was a kick back from my former church. I actually TALKED to a pastor (big no-no for me right now) and then I left him in the dirt on the pavement to fix it himself and drove off (which my former pastor would have frowned on if it had been him).
The parable came to mind… who’s your neighbor? I feel I did what God wanted me to do–and more than that, maybe saw what He wanted me to see, whether I decide to go there or not. Just knowing there are people out there who aren’t offended that you don’t do more, take things in stride, and want to help people was a huge benefit to me.