A Parable


What might the parable of the good Samaritan look like today? Below is a modernization of the biblical Parable Jesus told in Luke 10:25-37.


The small car sat at the light, its driver's eyes fixed on the red beacon, willing it to turn green. The sun was fading into darkness reminding him that he was in the wrong part of town. Wrong neighborhood, wrong place, wrong people. The shadows from the buildings stretched toward him with long thin fingers as if they were grasping for him. He shook off the image, laughing nervously to himself. He glanced, for the hundredth time, at the gas gage hovering dangerously below the E mark. His eyes darted back to the traffic light, willing it once again to change. Finally, it blinked to green and the driver, relieved, hit the gas. The little car responded with a shudder, betraying it's owner, it sputtered then died. Uttering a soft expletive, the man tried to restart the engine but it remained stubbornly unresponsive. Once again, the man looked outside and in the growing dark, he saw movement and the last thing he remembered was red hot pain in his head as the glass flew and hands grabbed for him.

The man lay quite still in the growing darkness. A local priest was hurrying home. He hesitated when he saw the body of the wounded man on the ground. His eyes shifted apprehensively to the darkened alleys. He looked back at the man on the ground and his heart hardened. Probably some drunk, he thought with disgust, fanning the flames of his ambivalence. He imagined he could smell the alcohol and with one last shake of his head, and an emboldened sense of his own self-importance, moved off into the darkness. A pastor from several blocks away was hurrying home from choir practice. A line from a hymn played itself over and over in his head, "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe," he sang the words tunelessly under his breath. Something caught his eye as he was passing and he suddenly realized it was the body of a man. The pastor quickly moved the other side of the street, unwilling to get involved in gang wars. The man was probably dead anyway he mused. "Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe..."

Darkness crept with greater urgency now as the sun slipped below the horizon. One last man walked by. He was from the neighborhood. He had grown up on these streets. The gangs called him Chap, short for chaplain. They didn't exactly accept his faith but they did accept him. He was part of them, part of the neighborhood, the place, and the people. Without warning Chap came upon the bloodied body of a man. He was not from the neighborhood, he noted right away. Still, it was wrong to leave him. Chap's heart filled with compassion and he grabbed up the man and put him in his car. It wasn't far to the emergency room from here. Chap saw to it that the man was taken care of, his wounds dressed and his bill paid. He said to the nursing staff, "I will be back." They knew Chap well, they knew he would do just that.

Jesus invited each of us into a life of ministry to others. So many times, we look the other way or decide life is too busy or too hard to get involved. But Jesus teaches that we are called to live for him. It might not be as dramatic as someone injured on the side of the road. Perhaps inviting someone to dinner or reaching out to encourage someone who is having a difficult time is your good Samaritan moment. Take some time to pray for opportunities and for a heart to recognize them when they come.