Archive for August, 2009

27
Aug
09

Acts of Micro-Good Samaritanism

Yesterday just as I pulled up to a stoplight I noticed an SUV pulling a trailer and from this trailer was about 8 feet of chain dragging behind it. Right about that time a Harley pulled up next to me, the guy parked his bike, jumped off, fixed the chain, got back on his bike and we all pulled away. The guy on the bike didn’t say anything to the driver of the SUV. I considered that maybe they were a pair driving on the road together, but then within a few hundred feet he turned off the highway not to be seen again. Miles later the SUV made his turnoff as well, apparently having reached his destination, unaware that someone had done something kind for him, and that his life was improved as a result. He would never know it was even done, or the name or face of the guy who did it. The road was made much safer by this biker’s act of what I call micro-Good Samaritanism.

I wondered how long that chain had been dragging, and how many people had seen it, but done nothing. Nothing to warn the driver or even, as this good citizen of the road did, actually make the effort to resolve a potentially dangerous situation. He took no credit, did not even want it. He just performed a good deed for his fellow man.

We read the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, in the book of Luke, chapter 10. This is one of the stories recorded that Jesus himself told. The setting is a lawyer who is asking Jesus some questions regarding going to Heaven. The lawyer knows he is to love his “neighbor,” but he asks, “who is my neighbor?” At its core the story is about human kindness and mercy. Jesus defines the concept of loving-your-neighbor-as-yourself in a parable about a guy who was mugged and is lying beat up on the side of the road. Some people walked by the man who was in dire need of medical help (including a priest!), but only the Samaritan stopped, and went out of his way to help him. Later in the story we see that he cannot stay to continue to help the man so he pays for the services and departs. It is obvious the Samaritan was busy and like many of us, was on his way somewhere that was important to him. Yet he stopped and helped, sacrificing time and money for someone who was a cultural enemy.

I am not a big fan of the term “random acts of kindness.” The word “random” is popular today, it’s one of those trendy in-fashion terms that come and go. The challenge I have is that “random” implies lack of intentionality. I suggest we make it a lifestyle to take time out of our lives, the small investment of getting outside of yourself and your world, to perform intentional acts of kindness to our fellow man.

We were on a road trip once driving through a canyon highway, and I saw a car parked on the side of the highway near the road edge where a river ran deep in the canyon. I saw a little girl sitting on the ground behind the car and some adults standing some distance away. The Holy Spirit spoke to me saying one word: “stop.” I passed the car and slowly rolled to a halt some distance ahead (I had Dina and my two very young children in the car and wanted to survey the lay of the land first). What I discovered was that a woman had thrown herself from a moving car, in distress and despair, trying to commit suicide. She was now about half way down the cliff face perched on a rock. Her family members and friends were milling about, shouting, etc. not sure what to do. The little 5-year old girl was her daughter. The 911 call required a drive up the canyon in order to get service. In the end, many calls of encouragement and hope to the woman on the cliff (she wanted to finish the job by jumping again), a valiant State Trooper, a length of rope, and loving on the little girl, ended the situation with mom being reunited with her daughter in tears and many thanks from the family. We left and continued our trip.

As we drove away, I wondered how many people had driven past on the highway and did not stop? Consider this as you go about your day today, will you be intentional about spreading the love of Christ in small ways where you may not even be known, but would bring glory to God in Heaven? What act of micro-Good Samaritanism can you do for someone else, just by opening up your eyes a little bit more to the world around you?

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