A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. Luke 10:31-32
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells us about a priest and a Levite who lacked compassion for the man traveling to Jericho who was beaten, robbed and left for dead. The point was not to condemn two large groups of people but to invite us to draw comparisons to what we see in our lives. Jesus is pointing toward a common human condition: lack of empathy for our fellow humans.
I was running into the market yesterday and saw an older woman standing in the parking lot clearly unable to find her car, repeatedly pushing the button on her key fob hoping the headlights would flash. People hurried past her and I wanted to do the same. Then God flashed in my memory the times I’ve forgotten where I parked or felt lost and afraid and alone.
I walked over and asked her if I could help. The row she usually used was full when she originally pulled in and she had been forced to park somewhere unusual. The problem was determining where that unusual had been. She and I wandered the parking lot and she eventually recognized her car and went on her way.
It took less than 5 minutes of my time and no effort – all I was doing was providing a friendly presence at her side while she looked. But it was an important presence and a special couple of minutes. I don’t know if she will remember me, but I will remember helping her. My time for her search turned into a gift to me.
Caring for our neighbor isn’t always carrying them to safety and paying for medical help. It can be as simple as offering a reassuring presence in a time of confusion.
God will put neighbors in your path today, some will be in need. Will you hurry past or stop and help?