It was about 3 years ago.
Maybe it been longer by now, it was winter and it was snowing heavily.
I had just pulled off from the expressway getting ready to do some Christmas shopping at the strip mall around the bend when I noticed a car that had lost control and was sitting on the ice of the retention pond.
There was a nice looking couple inside of the car dialing their cell phones. I assumed they were calling in the tow company or whatever to get help so I didn’t stop to see if assistance was needed.
I got done with my shopping and on the way home glanced over at where I saw the car and it was gone, not even a sign that one was there in the first place, no tire tracks in the snow like there was, it was like nothing had happened at all. I have heard that God will use angels to test us and I wonder if that was why there was a car there.
I think I failed the test because I was too pre-occupied during the Christmas rush of shopping to even check on them to see if they were o.k., I didn’t realize that the car was sitting on a frozen retention pond until recently when the incident was brought back into my memory. I had been like the Pharisee in the good Samaritan story who was too busy to help the man who had been robbed and passed by on the other side of the road.
What I think God was trying to teach me and that I haven’t really grasped until recently is that if that had been an actual event, that I could have possible saved them by helping out rather than going by on the other side of the street. The Samaritan stopped, even at great risk to his own safety, the robbers, in Jesus’ story, that beat the man and left for dead could also have been using the half dead man for bait to rob anyone else who stopped to help. I have heard stories of criminals doing that even today as they will pull off the road and have their flashers going and when someone pulls over to help, they rob them or worse. But the Samaritan stopped and had compassion on the man who was robbed and at a cost to him for his compassion. He took the man and put him up in what today would be considered a hotel and prepaid his stay there and told the hotel owner that if more expenses were incurred to place them on his bill and he would pay them on his return through the area. This is what Jesus was talking about in being a neighbor to the man who was robbed. The incident cost the Samaritan man time, money and safety, but chose to do the right thing rather than ignore the situation and go about his business oblivious to anyone else around him as we so often do even today.
Pastor Scott showed a video in service about someone else who is making a difference to those who need assistance. He works in the projects helping kids learn and do things that are productive and rewarding.
I was always afraid to even drive by there because you always hear about the crime in the projects, but never hear about the good in most of the people who are there. These same good people have to live with the crime that is there, worried about their own safety yet powerless to do anything about it. How far have we lost our understanding of what Jesus told us, that if we try to save our lives, we will lose it, but if we lose our life for His sake, we will gain life, real life. Compassion weekend is coming up soon and I guess my next test will be in how I respond to what God may ask me to do. I hope I have the courage to respond in the way that God wants me to.