Sam frequently tells this story about his time as a missionary in Scotland, and while the actual events took place back in the 80’s, the moral of the story holds true even today.
Back in the day leaflet drops were quite popular as most folks had the old-fashioned letter slot in their doors. He and his young son were walking through a neighborhood one sunny day and they happened upon a house with an old man sitting in his front yard propped up against a tree, enjoying the sunshine and apparently taking an afternoon nap. Sam’s son said, “Oh Daddy, look at that man by the tree…” To which Sam replied, “Ssshhhh, let’s not wake him up – he’s taking a nap.” So as quietly as they could, they walked up the little sidewalk and dropped their leaflet in the letter box and then back down the steps and onto the next house, not giving a second thought to that poor old chap sitting under a tree in his brown cardigan sweater and wool hat. It wasn’t until a few days later when the local newspaper came out and Sam read about an old chap who was found dead under a tree in his front yard that he realized that was the same chap they’d seen “sleeping” a few days before.
This story reminds me so much of the story of the Good Samaritan. And it actually illustrates the fact that in order for us to be like the Good Samaritan we have to initiate human contact. **gasps in horror** We wouldn’t have such a powerful example of compassion and care if the Samaritan, like so many of us today had been listening to that little voice in his head that was likely saying, “Ssshhhh, he’s probably just sleeping. You have so many things on your to-do list today that you can’t possibly spare the extra time to walk over and check on him. I’m sure someone else will come along behind me and see if he’s okay….”
You see, it only takes a few minutes of time to call and check up on someone we care about. Or to sit down and jot them a little note or send an email just to say “hey I was thinking about you today.” How hard is it really to show people we care about them? How difficult is it to give up a half an hour of our time for people who are supposed to matter to us? Sure it might mean we don’t get to sit on our little computers all night and randomly surf the Internet; or get to watch the season finale of our favorite reality show; and we might even miss that all important text message from our friend telling us they’ve discovered that they “like to eat fish.” Heaven forbid we actually get back to a culture that cares about human life…real, live, breathing, hurting, joyful, confused, scared, happy, sad, reckless human life……………..
Okay, I’m crawling off my soap box now lest I plunge head first into some other random disaster. Remember, to have friends you first must be a friend.