Jesus once told a story to illustrate an important truth.
The story is found in Luke 10:30-37. Three men were traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. This was a road that people tried to avoid.
It was notorious for muggers and thieves. All three men encountered the same crime scene. Each of them chooses a different response, and their response represents three options or possible choices you might make when confronted by an opportunity to show kindness to someone else.
Here is how the story begins:
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead.
The first person to come upon the scene was a priest. He saw the injured man as a problem to avoid. The priest didn’t want to get too close. He decided to keep his distance and go on about his business. He passed by on the other side of the road.
Next a temple assistant (a Levite) came along. He sees this guy who has been beaten nearly to death. The man is naked and bleeding. The Levite looks at him and also decides to pass by on the other side of the street and keep on walking.
Then the Good Samaritan shows up. Hospitals are named after this guy. He decides to treat the man as he, no doubt, would like to be treated if he were in the same situation. He demonstrated incredible kindness to the man who had been beaten and robbed.
The Samaritan was willing to be interrupted. We all know that opportunities to show kindness and compassion usually don’t happen on our schedule. Kindness takes time. It is often inconvenient.
Stopping to show a little kindness to someone in need could blow your entire schedule for the day. You may not get everything checked off your list.
I’m sure the Samaritan could have come up with a dozen reasons why he didn’t have time to help this man. Most of them would sound reasonably legitimate. They would sound a lot like the excuses we have all used at times.
But he didn’t. He stepped up. He helped out. He was kind, compassionate and loving.
Opportunities to show kindness are coming your way. It could be a waitress, a co-worker, a neighbor or friend. How will you respond? Will you step over to the other side of the street, or will you step up and show kindness?
Steve Greene is the lead pastor at The Point in Seymour. You mayn email him at email@example.com.