By Jennifer Leigh Edwards
Johnny, Sam, and Charles were walking home from school one fine June afternoon. Sam was thinking about how much fun they would all have playing ball in the nearby field. Meanwhile, Johnny was asking Charles to give him the video game he had just gotten for his birthday.
Charles said, "No! You can't have my new present. But maybe if your parents don't mind, you can come over and play with me," he cheerfully added.
Then Johnny said in a mean voice, "I don't want to play with you. I want it for myself!"
"Maybe your mom can get you one for your birthday."
"But I want it now!" Johnny said. With that, he swiped Charles' book bag and then dashed down the street with it.
Charles started crying as he watched Johnny take the game out of the book bag. Johnny then threw down the bag and ran around the corner, where he waited for Charles to catch up.
When Charles came around the corner, Johnny wrestled him to the ground and said, "Now, don't you think it would be easier to just cooperate?" Johnny walked off and went home, as if nothing had ever happened.
Sam watched on in horror from behind. He sat down on the guardrail and thought about what to do.
Meanwhile, some of the other neighborhood kids came along. Paul went to the corner and found another way home. Mike walked around and said nothing. But Sam knew this was not right. He walked over to Charles, picked up his book bag, and helped him get home.
When they got to Charles' house, Sam asked him to go and play ball with him in the field. They enjoyed themselves and had a great time!
The next day at school, everyone asked Sam why he was nice to Charles. Sam replied, "I just did what I thought was right. It was not fair to leave him alone and hurt, when I could help him, even if he HAS only been in the neighborhood only a few weeks, and we've all been here a long time."
One day a lawyer came to Jesus and asked, "What should I do to get to heaven?"
Jesus answered, "What does the law say?"
"You should love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself," the lawyer replied.
"That's right," Jesus said. "If you do all of that, you will be able to get to heaven."
But the lawyer, thinking he could ask Jesus a question that could not be answered, asked, "But who is my neighbor?"
Jesus answered him by telling this story:
One day, a man who was traveling from a far away city, suddenly met up with a group of thieves. The thieves took everything he had, and then they beat him up and left him lying half dead by the side of the road.
As he lay there in pain and misery, he heard footsteps. "Ah! Someone is coming!" he thought. "I hope he will help me! . . . I hope it isn't one of the same men who beat me up, coming back to find out if I am dead." He waited and listened for what seemed like hours, as the footsteps faded in the distance.
It happened to be a priest who came by, but when he saw the man lying beside the road, he decided to take a different road because he was in a hurry and didn't want to be bothered.
The poor man was certainly glad that it wasn't one of the robbers, but he surely wished SOMEBODY would come along to help him.
After a little while, he heard footsteps again.... He wanted to call out and get the attention of the person walking by, but he was in so much pain, all he could do was moan. "Maybe this person will see me and help me," he thought anxiously.
This time the man who passed by was a Levite, a well-known teacher in the temple. SURELY HE would want to help the poor man. But when he saw the man lying on the side of the road, he looked down . . . then turned his head . . . then walked right by, completely ignoring the poor, hurting man.
It wasn't long until the man heard ANOTHER set of footsteps. He wanted to believe that this person would reach down to help him, but he had already been passed by twice and dared not even hope for relief. By this time, he had given up all hope and was sure he was going to die right there on the side of the road.
The man who was traveling down the road this time was a stranger from Samaria. Nobody even liked people from Samaria. It was very unlikely that he would want to help. But as he passed by, he noticed the man who was lying beaten and bloody on the side of the road. He felt sorry for him and wanted to help. He got off his donkey and bent down next to the man to get a closer look at the wounds. Gently, he wrapped bandages around the sores and helped him to his feet. THEN . . . he carefully put the man on his very own donkey, and took him to the nearest hotel. He stayed with the man overnight and took care of him.
The next morning he had to leave, but he knew he couldn't take the man with him. When he paid the bill, he gave the innkeeper extra money, saying, "Take care of him, feed him, and make sure he has everything he needs. If he owes you any money after he gets well and leaves, write it down, and I will pay the bill the next time I come by."
Jesus, after finishing the story, asked the lawyer, "Which of these three men was a neighbor to the stranger on the street?"
The lawyer sheepishly answered, "The one who stopped and helped him."
And Jesus said, "That's right. Now YOU go and do the same."
How many people passed by the wounded man?
How many people stopped to help the wounded man?
How did the Samaritan show kindness to the wounded man?
Who is your neighbor?
Loving God includes showing love to all people.
A VERSE TO LEARN
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Galatians 5:14).
Dear God, help me to be kind today even if
people are not kind to me. Help me to do what
You want me to do. Thank You for loving me.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
Copyright © 2013 by Barbara Wilmerton Haas.
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