By Bishop Michael Goings
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:30-37)
The parable of the Good Samaritan undoubtedly is one of the most well-known of all the parables used by Jesus to illustrate a moral lesson on principles of truth. The term has since been used to symbolize and define a person who is unselfish in helping others. There is an urgent need in our culture that is inundated with corrupt and selfish people for the emergence and proliferation of Good Samaritans. For we need these antidotal people serving not just in our churches, synagogues, and institutions of religion and worship, but also and more so in our government, corporate sector, academia, and every segment of our culture. Unfortunately, we are living in a nation that has contracted a moral cancer that has rendered her gravely ill. However, in spite of all of this bad and somber news that the media obviously prefers over the good because it sells, there are still some good people out there who are newsworthy and worthy of citing. These Good Samaritans are selflessly sacrificing their time, talent, and treasure to help those who are less fortunate and destitute. We will utilize the rest of this commentary to cite and commend such a person.
The Anonymous Car Giver
One of the most moving and inspiring moments in regard to the practice of Good Samaritanism took place one Sunday evening at our church in Dillon. I was prompted of the Spirit to have a special service that was aimed at people meeting one another’s needs through giving. Those in need would voice what their particular needs were and if there was anyone present with the ability or resources to meet it, they would raise their hand or send me a note in anonymity. Well, things went along fine as some were just a tad bit reluctant and perhaps ashamed to tell what they needed within reason. As things settled and the atmosphere was cleared of shame, pride and obstructions, one sister, who had no shame in her game, raised her hand. In recognition, I said, “Yes, Loris (not her real name)? What is it that you have need of today?” Without any intimidation or reservation, she responded in her usual proper and articulated way of speaking, “Pastor, I need a car.” A sudden hush, mixed with a little astonishment and silent laughter seized the congregation. Caught completely by surprise, I tried to maintain my composure and respond to her the best way I knew how. Perhaps, if she had asked for a bed, television, or even a refrigerator, someone in the congregation would have stepped forward and met her need. However, this was Dillon, South Carolina and we were in a serious recession. Some had lost their jobs and others were tethering on barely making it. Having stalled as long as I could and recovering from the initial shock, I finally began to respond to her and let her down easy with as much tact and mercy as I could muster under the circumstances. “Lois,” I said softly and very politely,
“It does not appear that anyone is here who has the means to meet your particular need at this time.”
There was a sigh of relief from the congregation that was mixed with a little silent laughter. Then all of a sudden the usher slipped me a note from someone which read, “I have a car that I want to give her.” For a brief moment, I was speechless and completely overwhelmed with amazement.
For that which had seemed not impossible, but definitely far-fetched had happened. Recovering from the wonder of what I had just read on the note, I blurted out, “Guess what church? Someone just gave Sister Lois a car!” A spirit of elation, near pandemonium proportions gripped the entire congregation as shouts of “hallelujah, praise the Lord, and thank You, Jesus” resonated throughout the entire place. It was indeed a joyous time of celebration and thanksgiving. We all rejoiced that such a great need had been met and truly were thankful for the fact that a Good Samaritan was amongst us who had the heart and resources to be the agent and conduit of God’s grace.
The Anonymous Giver Does It Again
The story of a contemporary Good Samaritan would be inspiring and complete had it not been for this final episode. Several months after Sister Lois had received her car in such an astounding and praiseworthy fashion, it was about to happen again.
A certain sister, whose name I will not reveal, got in desperate need of a reliable car due to the fact that her old, run down vehicle was giving her some serious problems. It was on the brink of completely shutting down.
This would spell disaster for her employment status because she worked out of town and needed a car to get to and from her job. She declared by faith in the privacy of her home, during her personal prayer time, that there was somebody out there who had a car that they could give her because she surely did not have the money to buy one. She was finally able to summons enough boldness to let her search and request be known in the church one Sunday morning. Standing up she said, “I do not know whether there is anyone in here who can help me, but I need a car.” With those few words, she sat down. Most did not know what to make of this request.
Unlike the other time, when I felt led to have a service of sharing and meeting needs, this was totally different. On her own initiative, this sister had asked for help. I had given her permission to do so, but had nothing to do with the idea.
It was only a matter of a few days that a Good Samaritan had stepped forward and met the sister’s urgent need. To my utter amazement, it was again the same sister who had given away the first car. Like the first time, she had done it in anonymity. I was truly blessed by her acts of liberality, as was our entire congregation.
I have nicknamed her in our private greetings, “Sister Barnabas, the daughter of consolation.” This account of a Good Samaritan is not a unique one in our area; it is emblematic of quite a few others who are putting the well-being of others above themselves.
These Good Samaritans are freely giving of their time, talents, and treasure in hospitals, clinics, churches, schools, homes, and wherever there are destitute people who need help.
They are mending wounds, comforting the grieving, cultivating young minds, and providing help to those who have no hope. Without such caring and giving people, our terminally ill culture would certainly die.
I salute all Good Samaritans out there:
You are so necessary, appreciated, and valued. You are a part of the solution and not the problem.