A HELPING HAND
A Short Story
Written by Dr. Rick McGrath, Ph.D.
On a cold and windy January evening a group of men met for a bible study at their church. Every week they would get together to study God’s word. The get together would usually consist of a dozen men or so, one of the church leaders who conducted the study and read the word. After the bible study they would hang around a half hour or so and fellowship. Usually over coffee and donuts or some type of pastry.
On this particular night, an interesting one to be sure, the bible topic was on “The Good Samaritan”. The group leader opened with a prayer asking God to make this night’s message real and to open their hearts to receive and be able to act on the word they were about to hear. After prayer and the amen’s, Joseph, the leader started the scripture reading from Luke chapter 10, starting with verse 25. “The Good Samaritan”
The story of “The Good Samaritan” talks about how there was a certain man who went from Jerusalem to Jericho. Along the way he was robbed, beaten, and wounded. He laid at the side left for dead. By chance a Priest had come along and he saw the man laying there. Unmoved, he shrugged his shoulders and walked on his way. Likewise a Levite happened down the road and he did as the Priest. He gave a glance and kept on his way without even stopping to see if the man was dead or alive.
The parable, the story of “The Good Samaritan” continues on telling how this Samaritan man came by and stopped to see if there was something he could do about the situation. You must also understand the Samaritans were considered societies lowly. The Priests and Levites were of a higher stature. So the Samaritan, he stops and cares for the wounded man, helps him up and gets him to town. He could of just left the man in front of the local place of medicine but he didn’t do that. He took the man, cleaned him up, bandaged his wounds and got him a room. Once the man was comfortable, he told the inn keeper to take care of the man and what ever it cost, on his way back through he would further pay the inn keeper.
`The men at the bible study all agreed that the Samaritan actually showed the compassion that Christ would have shown. They also agreed that if the opportunity arose they would do there best to try and be like that good Samaritan. After the study, the men moved over to the hall where they did their fellowship, drank coffee and ate donuts. One of the men, George, he had to step out for a few minutes to drop something off around the corner. On the way George saw an older man, walking along on the side of the road with bare feet and old worn out clothes. Two things you have to remember. First, this was back when budget cuts occurred and many of those that were being taken care of by local government agencies received medication for a variety of mental issues. Insurance companies also cut back on providing benefits for those that needed on going care. Second, George was somewhat of an unusual person. He was a man that had a heart for those that were left uncared for, the down and out if you will. He didn’t mind walking right up to a person that looked like they were in need no matter how scary they looked.
As usual, this night was no different for George. He pulled over and got out of his van and asked the old guy if he was alright. The poor guy looked like he hadn’t seen water or a shave in months. His clothes wreaked with dirt and other stains. “Hey there,” George said. “You ok? What’s you name?” The man didn’t answer but with a grunt. George who had spent time helping with other Evangelists in street ministries understood a little about this kind of situation. “Do you know where your are?” This time the man grinned and said, “Okalahoma!” “Oh my,” said George. “No! You’re in Riverside California.” It really hadn’t registered with the man. He just continued to grin. “Hey! I bet your feet are cold”, said George. The man shook his head yes. George being George took his shoes off then took his socks and gave the socks to the man to help out a little.
With the Church just around the corner George asked the man if he was hungry and would like some coffee and donuts. The man’s eyes lit up and he grunted a yes. So George still having to drop off something told the old fellow, “There is a church just around the corner. You will see a building with a light on. Go inside, take some coffee and help yourself to some donuts and when I am finished I will be back to sit with you.”
So the old man doing what George told him went around the corner to get some of that hot coffee and donuts George was talking about.
The Smell of fresh coffee and the sight of donuts of all sizes and shapes excited the wondering man. He did just as George told him to. Got some hot coffee, grabbed a couple of donuts and sat down. As soon as he did, the other eleven gentlemen rushed over to the traveler and said, “Hey! What do you think you are doing? Those aren’t for you. You don’t belong here? The old guy already confused about where he was and what was real and not real said to them. “It’s ok! An angel appeared gave me some socks for my feet and told me to come here for coffee and donuts. I’m suppose to sit right here until he gets back”.
Almost to the point of anger, the eleven gentlemen took the fellow by the back of his already torn jacket and escorted him out the door. Joseph, the bible study leader said, “the nerve of some people. What does he think this place is a restaurant?” Yeah the rest of the group chimed as they continued their eating and drinking.
George now finished with his quick errand came back to the church hoping to sit and meet with the man who was out of it. George walked in and looked all around and didn’t see the guy anywhere. George in a loud tone asked, “What’s going on here?’ “Not much,” said one of the gentleman. “Some old nasty vagrant came in and started eating our donuts. He said some angel told him to do it. “ We ran him off,“ said the bible study leader. “He also said some angel gave him a pair of socks and told him to come here,” said Bob, one of the eleven. George almost came unglued! “What is the matter with you people, didn’t we just finish a bible study about “The Good Samaritan“? “And what about that opening prayer? Didn’t we ask God to make his word real to us so we could start being more like him?” George being George again, raised up his pant legs and showed the eleven men he was wearing shoes with no socks. “God gave us an opportunity and we blew it,” said George.
“In as much as you did it for the least of
Your brethren, you did it to me.”