If you grew up in church, then it is probably one of those stories that you heard many times. The story of the Good Samaritan. Have you have forgotten? Well, let me refresh your memory. In Luke chapter 10, Jesus tells a story about a man who was beaten, robbed, and left beside the road for dead. People passed by, but for whatever reason (some of them for "religious reasons") none stopped to render aid to the beaten man. Until one person, a Samaritan (who were not liked by the Israelites), stopped... rendered aid, and then took the man to an inn where he could recover, and paid for that as well. Awesome story of compassion and Godly behavior.
Fast forward to today. On my way to work, I was sitting at a VERY busy intersection, when my car just shut down. Gas gauge said I still had 1/8 of a tank, but try as I may... the engine would not start. I sat there with my flashers on, people honking...getting frustrated because I was holding up traffic. I prayed, but it just would not start. About 10 yards in front of me was a turn-in to an office building. Oddly enough, I checked my mirror and there was no traffic in the lane next to me. I got out and began to push my car by myself. I just wanted to get it out of that traffic. People just watched as I did it. I did okay until I got turned into the parking lot. I was able to barely get it out of traffic, but due to the incline of the parking lot, I could not push any further. Cue police officer #1 that drove right past me... didn't stop. I had several people drive around me in the parking lot (people, aka men strong enough to help) but only glanced at me because of the annoyance of having to get by my car. Even had another Constable drive by without stopping to check on me. (Please note: This has not been my normal experience with the police in Austin... they are usually top-notch. I believe God was allowing that to happen to teach me the following...)
Then, out of nowhere, a man in a small car pulls up. He pulls past me and into a parking space, but I can tell he's coming to help. Now, I want to preface this next part... If you know me at all, you know that I am not a racist person in the least, so I do not want this to come off as a slight to this man whatsoever. The man who stopped to help was a very pleasant African-American man. Given all of the race issues that have been going on in the country lately, I would not have blamed him for passing up some random white dude on the side of the road. However, he chose to ignore all that nonsense and come to the aid of someone in need. We were able to get it far enough into the parking lot that I could wait for some assistance from one of the guys at work (big thank you to John Alvis!). He was on his way to an appointment, so I assured him I was taken care of, thanked him profusely, and he went on to his appointment.
I did not get his name. I cannot send him a "thank you" card. However, God spoke to me through that man today. That man, like the actual Samaritan in the Bible story, looked past any perceptions of me, and came to my aid. Today, I met the Good Samaritan in the flesh. I do not know whether he is a follower of Christ, or not... but he was an answer to prayers, and the encouragement from the Lord that I needed in that situation.
God has challenged me with this. Do I do enough to help those in need? Am I willing to change my schedule, or get out of my comfort zone to be Jesus to people in my every day life? God continues to show me that this is the reason for the church... it's not about buildings, numbers, or social media... it's about being the hands and feet of Jesus to people... One At A Time. How can God use you like this today?
And yes... I did fill my car up with gas immediately... ;)