August 27, 2012
(Jesus said) “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37
A week or so ago, two stories came out of Texas. They are as different as different can be.
The first has to do with Staff Sergeant Chad Staples. Staples, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, had taken a bullet to protect a wounded comrade. That bullet left Staples paralyzed at the waist.
Recently, Staples was left stranded on the third floor of a Best Western Hotel. A power outage had put the elevator out of commission, so Staples called the front desk and asked for help in getting his bags and wheelchair down the stairs.
Rather than assisting, the clerk laughed. Sad story.
The second story is that of Xander Veno. Recently, four-year-old Veno saw a little girl struggling at the deep end of a swimming pool. He swam to her and held her head up, so she wouldn't drown. Exhausted by his efforts, Veno dropped to the bottom of the pool and was soon comatose.
The girl is in reasonable condition; but Xander Veno died at the hospital.
As I said, those two stories are as dissimilar as night and day. As far as I can tell, they have only one thing in common.
Each tells of how a person reacted when they were put into an unexpected situation. As you have seen, one person did well, and the other did not.
The same conclusion can be drawn in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan. When confronted with an opportunity to serve, the Samaritan passed with flying colors, while the religious leaders crashed and burned.
This leads me to ask, how will you do when the Lord drops an unexpected opportunity in your lap? What is the cost you are willing to pay? How much inconvenience will you endure?
I know how far Chad Staples was willing to go. He sacrificed his legs and was willing to offer his life for a comrade. I know how far Xander Veno was willing to go.
Most importantly, I know how far the Savior went. Jesus gave His life for all of humanity. It's true; Jesus came into this world to offer up His life as the ransom that had to be paid if sinners were to be saved. He gave His all for those who didn't want, appreciate or applaud Him.
So the question remains: as someone who has been blessed by Jesus' sacrifice, how far would you go to show your appreciation and help someone else?
It's something worth thinking about, before the unexpected arrives.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are some who are heroes and some who are not, some who do what is right and others who prefer not to be disturbed in their wrongdoing. As Your saved children, allow us to show our thankful hearts by doing what is right. In Jesus’ Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries