A Good Samaritan Story

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At one point along the way we slowed down. On the side of the road, laying in the ditch, was a young girl. She couldn’t have been more than 16.

Luke 10:29-37(NIV)

As a Christian, I have read the parable of the Good Samaritan at least a hundred times and each time I read it I would think to myself, “What hypocrisy, what self-righteousness, the priest and then the Levite demonstrated!”

Oh how I still remember that day back in 2007. My wife and I were on a mission trip in Zimbabwe. We had hired a local driver to take us from Mutare to a United Methodist Mission in Munyarari. We were meeting people at the mission with the hope of beginning the planning and construction of a medical clinic.

We were feeling good that day. It was sunny and warm. I remember thinking how God had laid this mission on my heart. I love Jesus Christ and I felt compelled to help build this long needed clinic. I remember praying that morning. I asked God to lead me in whatever direction He wanted me to go.

The driver put us in the back bed of the pick-up and off we went. On the way, our driver picked up people along the side of the road as we were traveling. This seemed to be normal for him, even though we had hired his services. As we passed people walking to work, he would stop, smile, say a few Shona words, and folks would pile into the back of the truck with my wife and me. We were all crammed in like sardines but no one complained. Everyone seemed grateful to have a ride. We found out later that some of these people walk as much as 20 to 30 kilometers a day just to get to work.

At one point along the way we slowed down. On the side of the road, laying in the ditch, was a young girl. She couldn’t have been more than 16. Her mother was standing over her trying to lift her up off the ground but couldn’t get her up. It was obvious the young lady was very sick and could hardly stand or walk. Instead of stopping, we all just looked at the two of them and kept going. After we had gone another kilometer or so, guilt enveloped me. The farther we drove, the more I despised my inaction. Why hadn’t I told the driver to stop to help?

When we finally got to the Munyarari Mission I asked the driver, “What was wrong with that young girl we passed on the side of the road?” “She has HIV/Aids”, he said. “She’ll probably die.” I walked away and began to cry. “Oh Lord, forgive me. Forgive my sin against you and against one of your children in need.”  You see, I had responded just like the priest and the Levite. I too, passed on the other side of that road.

I will never forget that day and I don’t want to. I know the Lord has forgiven me but His forgiveness calls me to action. I will try, with God’s help, to spend the rest of my life making myself available to those who are left on the side of the roads I travel.

Lord Jesus, make me see with more than my eyes. Open my heart and mind to your will. Allow your love for those in need to fall upon me that I may be the Samaritan you have commanded us all to be.