Deuteronomy 10:18 – [The Lord your God] executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. (ESV)
"Sharon, look, there's a nail in my tire." My sister, Bonnie, pointed to the sharp end poking out of her rear tire. We had stopped at a store before a trip to the mountains. She dropped me off at the door, then parked the car. Thinking that I wouldn't know where she was, she got out of the car to find me and "just happened" to notice the nail. If she hadn't, we would have been stranded with a flat on a winding mountain road.
We drove to a nearby tire store that my sister had used before. She has three adult Down's Syndrome daughters, one natural, two adopted. As we all walked to the office, a tire repairman and a customer came out to meet us. They looked at the tire and determined that it couldn't be fixed; a new tire was needed. As a single mother, Bonnie is on a limited income, so this was a major expense. As she pulled out her card to pay, the customer who had greeted us pulled out his credit card and paid for her tire! We realized later that his wife, who was with him and had been chatting with the girls, was especially enchanted with the youngest and most severely disabled. While we were standing at the desk, she must have encouraged him to take care of us.
The store was busy, but when we explained that we were on our way to the mountains, the repairman jumped her car to the head of the line and had her tire changed in less than 30 minutes. Bonnie cried a bit, hugged everyone, thanked them repeatedly, and we went on our way, blessed beyond belief.
In Luke, chapter 10, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. Two people passed by the man attacked by robbers, but the Samaritan stopped to help, and even promised to pay for any extra expense on his way back home. Jesus tells the listeners to be like the Good Samaritan, to have mercy on others, and to be a good neighbour. My sister and her daughters have experienced this many times: anonymous people pay for their meals; friends and family give her monetary gifts and help her with childcare; and she receives unexpected money, often from unknown sources. She is repeatedly blessed by Good Samaritans.
We all encounter needy people. What can we do to be a Good Samaritan? I have a friend who asks the waitress how he can pray for her as we ask the blessing. Sometimes, it's just a smile and a brief conversation with someone who seems sad. Sometimes, it may be paying for a tire. What can we do today to reach out in Jesus' name?
Prayer: Father, help us to notice those around us who are in need, to stop and think about what we can do to help each one. We want to be Your hands, feet, and even Your source of financial help whenever we can. Give us Your gift of mercy. Amen.
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