A Modern Day Version of the Good Samaritan … well sort of.

I hate being late. In fact, I detest it. I actually like being places at least 10 minutes early, but oh boy, was I running late last Tuesday to my bible class. I knew in about 3 minutes I’d have a room full of women chanting, “Where’ve you been. You’re late!”  I’d been out running errands and let the time slip up on me.

I was zipping down the street, going to make it right on time, when the light turned red. Hobbling across the street in front of me was a little old woman. She had her coat, headscarf and purse in hand. I thought, “Hurry, little lady, I have a class to teach.”

She passed and my light turned green. I made it 3 blocks when it hit me, “Trey, you just did the same thing the Priest and Levite did in the story of the good Samaritan to the man who was beaten and left on the side of the road… you went on by.”

Then the debate started…

One part of me said, “Dude, YOU have a class to teach. Don’t go back. She’s probably out for a walk. You’re going to be late and those women are going to get you.”

The other part of me said, “It’s cold outside. You can’t drive on past.”

I turned around and went back. I had to make a couple of blocks before I finally caught up with her. I pulled up, rolled my window down and said in my sweetest voice possible, “Ma’am, can I give you a ride somewhere?” She quickly declined my offer without breaking stride. I could tell she was a little nervous by my offer. So I asked again, “Are you sure? I’d be happy to drop you off somewhere.” Again she said, “No,” as she kept walking. At this point I wanted to say, “Ma’am, help me out here. I’m trying to be a Good Samaritan. I’m a REALLY nice guy, and you can trust me,” but I chose not to. As she walked off I did tell her, “Have a nice day,” and then I drove off.

I was a little late for class, but no one gave me a hard time about it. Although the little old lady wouldn’t let me help her, I felt like I had made the right decision by offering… even if it meant being late to class. In Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan, I’ve always imagined the Priest and the Levite were not  bad people but just too busy to help. They probably didn’t stop because they were in a hurry to do something good like teach a class, preach a sermon or go to a church service. But for whatever reason, they chose wrong when they chose not to stop and help.

I wonder how many other people in this world I’ve missed helping because I was in too big a hurry.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Trey Morgan tagged this post with: , Read 1165 articles by
32 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Stachia Washington says:

    It’s like that song “open my eyes that I might see everything that I been missing, Lord open my eyes”. It’s worth being late every once in a while.

  2. Michael says:

    I hate being late as well. Drives me crazy.

    I too wonder how many people we miss cause we are in a hurry. I think we get so caught up in us, that we can miss opportunities completely. The funny thing is we sometimes pray for more of these opportunites.

    Great stuff man. I really enjoy your writings and your heart.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Michael, thanks bro. I don’t know how many times I’ve prayed for opportunities and then driving by them unaware. And I was probably on my way to do something “important.”

  3. Interesting take on the Good Samaritan. “They weren’t bad people, they were just too busy to help.”

    I think the point of the story is that passing by when someone needs help MAKES you a bad person.

    Just because we can justify it to ourselves, it doesn’t make it right or good.

    Just my thoughts.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      I like your thoughts. Passing by DOES make you bad. I just can’t get past the fact that the Priest & Levite probably thought they had some great excuses. I can hear them, “I can’t help I’ve got the Lord’s work to do.” When they whole time, they were passing up doing the Lord’s work to do things less important.

      It is a challenging story.

      • Very challenging indeed.

        I see the same happening all the time in my own life – and it’s always challenging to me to try to live for Christ not live for me for Christ.

  4. Chris says:

    We were discussing something similar a few weeks ago in our youth group cell meeting. The question posed to myself and the other leaders was very similar.

    Imagine you are in senior high school, on the way to a very important exam that basically determines the course and institution you can enter for tertiary (university) study. Now on the way to class you pass someone that needs help… what do you do? Being late will earn a fail on the test and greatly limit your future prospects.

    Yes we have a responsibility to be good Christians and look out for our brothers and sisters in need, but we also have a responsibility to our parents to achieve the best possible at school as they are footing the bill so to speak.

    The kicker to this story is that one of my students faced this exact situation, and they chose to be on-time to the exam. It was a very challenging discussion for everyone. I don’t mean it as a challenge or anything, but I would really like to hear your thoughts on this Trey, or any others here :)

    Chris

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Chris … Wow, that would have been a tough thing for that student. I think it definitely depends on the situation. I don’t want to start making rules for Jesus’ parable, but I’ve got to believe that the student’s actions were pleasing to Jesus (which is most important).

      As for the reason he missed his exam, hopefully it was a situation that needed serious help and not something like a buddy needing him to play video games with him to cheer him up. :)

  5. We are to offer help and truth. We cannot force others to accept it.

    Thank you for sharing this story. I feel a conviction to be available to respond to these situations as per the example of the good Samaritan. What is more important, our agenda or sharing Christ’s love to those in need. It requires time, commitment, and vision. It necessitates meeting them at their most basic needs first. It involves living out Christ’s love in our daily life and letting it overflow into the world around us.

  6. L.C.T. says:

    It always encourages me that your posts not only discuss the thoughts but that you can also talk about what you did about it. Most blogs I read are ‘I thought this, but didn’t do anything about it’ so I love reading posts like this :)

  7. Andre Nunes says:

    Thanks for the reminder. Its so funny you mentioned this today, because about a month ago the same thing happened. I wasn’t teaching a class or something, but I was going to get ice cream, I went under the over pass and I saw a guy just sitting on the concrete(he’s a regular at the stop light asking for help). I when I passed I looked and in my mind I struggled, “should I ask if he wants to eat or something”, as my mind struggled, I continued to drive, its not like I can stop in the middle of the street or something, or can I? Anyways, I got my ice cream, and when I was returning I looked and saw him again, and before I can start thinking I did a U-turn. I stopped (in the middle of the street, by the way) and asked if he would like to eat something, he said no, I asked if he was sure and he replied yes. Although I ended up not helping, I felt at peace, that I did what I was supposed to do. Its getting out of the comfort zone, the funny thing is that after it had happened, I felt good, at peace and comfortable, after all that’s where we are supposed to be. Thanks and have a blessed day.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Well done, Andre. Those excuses get me all the time. I think too often we mistake compassion (like the good Samaritan had) for just feeling sorry for people in their situation. Compassion is ACTION oriented. Doing something about the bad situation.

      Loved your story.

  8. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by treymorgan, Dusty Rayburn. Dusty Rayburn said: A Modern Day Version of the Good Samaritan … well sort of. : http://tinyurl.com/25fme2k [...]

  9. jasonS says:

    I hate being late too! It drives me nuts.

    I’ve had experiences like the one you mentioned before. I drove past someone who was on the side of the road, felt so convicted that I didn’t stop to see if I could help that I turned around and went back. They told me someone was coming and that they were fine, but maybe they just needed to know that someone cared. I try to not question too much and just obey! Thanks Trey.

  10. Doug Young says:

    Man, I find the quandary of conflicting obligations terribly distressing. I’ve had this happen with neighbors as we were talking about deep stuff. I didn’t want to stop. I knew if I did, we would never be able to regain the momentum and feel of the moment. But bible class was nearing and I had to teach. Looking back I regret it, because we’ve never been able to regain what we established that evening. Terribly frustrating.

  11. Jennifer Muncy says:

    Open my eyes Lord…but please keep me safe! That is my prayer for today! Thanks Trey! I don’t stop for obvious reasons but I guess maybe I should…he didn’t specify women/men in the Bible…did he? I guess I was always taught to stay safe. Don’t stop, don’t pick anyone up, don’t give anyone a ride etc….you see where this is going, right? So give me some thoughts on what you would tell Lea or your mom or your sister…since you don’t have a daughter! :) Because I want to ALWAYS do what is right but there are bad people out there….

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Jennifer… great question and not the first time I’ve been asked. While I’m not uncomfortable picking up a guy on the side of the road (unless he’s like carrying an axe or something), I am uncomfortable with Lea picking up a man if she were alone. I would want Lea to simply use common sense when it comes to helping someone.

      Sometimes helping someone is as simple as pulling over and offering them the chance to use your cell phone to made a call, or giving someone a $5 bill who’s holding a sign at a stop light. I think it’s a common sense thing.

      At the same time, I get frustrated with people who preach safety as their excuse for never doing a thing to help anyone. I’m sure there was some risk involved in the good Samaritan helping the man on the side of the road. :)

      • Jennifer Muncy says:

        Good answer…an axe is obvious…a gun or knife a little less obvious! Gals just be careful out there and don’t roll your windows down all the way and NEVER I repeat NEVER put your car in PARK!
        Guess you just hear too many stories (these people down here in the metro make lots of money being “starving”…tax free money btw) so its hard to give when you hear reports all the time about the scams!
        So I’ll try, Trey, pray that God gives me the courage to do what I need to do, open my eyes and see “the real need”, stay safe, and always use my common sense….and not be judgemental about the scammers out there…just because there is one doesn’t mean it’s all of them!! :)

  12. Greg England says:

    Many years ago, we had car trouble a few miles from home, but within the county in which we lived. No telling how many cars drove by and I mentioned to my wife, “I wonder how many of those people actually know us, and drove on?” The next day, at church, someone asked, “Was that you on the side of the road….?”

    I’m proud of you at least asking.

  13. Brenda says:

    Tardiness….yeah…I’m with you. If I’m on time…then I’m late!!!! I usually arrive to everything 10 minutes early. I could go on and on…but that’s for another blog! :o)

    Lately, I have found myself in many opportunities to be a good samaritan, but passed up on it. Like others, I’m a woman and there is that need for safety.
    However, my heart was compelled about a week ago to stop along the road and offer help to a young man. I was kinda disappointed when he turned me down though. I think he had already phoned a friend. But I do believe that it is those thoughts in our hearts that count. Now if we can just get someone to take us up on our offers we’ll be good huh?

  14. suzi hodges says:

    Trey, as a single mother there are often times when I should have done something other than what I did because I think ” I don’t have time”. Many of us hurry through each day with our busy schedules. I am learning to re prioritize and slow down and think, so I don’t have to turn around and go back. As I was reading I know how often you are there for us and I had no doubt even though you passed her that you would turn around. You are a wonderful example and a Good Samaritan.

  15. Hmmm.

    My initial thoughts were quite in line with what all have said here. I confess I am guilty of passing by all too many times because I am a task-oriented person who struggles with compassion. My heart was convicted about 6 months ago that, until I learn to truly love the one asking for money on the side of the road rather than just being afraid of them or downright heartless, I no longer have the right to pass by without offering help. So I totally catch the message of what you’re saying.

    But…the more I reflected, there’s a different part that also troubles me.

    I’m cautious as to the parallel between the man beaten, bloodied, and left for dead, and the one sitting or walking on the side of the road who is merely inconvenienced by our 21st Century, USA standards.

    In the former, it seems Jesus is making the point that there are times when the only obvious and right choice is to stop and help, regardless of race, creed, or schedule, because of the urgency and severity of the situation and the disciple’s call (and very nature) to be loving and compassionate.

    In the latter, it seems that we’re villanizing (especially by suggesting that it “MAKES” you a bad person) the one who considers being respectful of their committments and other people’s time more important than catering to the one who may be, by our 21st century standards, merely inconvenienced…or at least most certainly nowhere in the neighborhood of being at the point of death described in Jesus’ story.

    I’m seeing a pretty big difference in the urgency of the need and the motivation of the action between the two scenarios.

    Is it possible that somehow we may be taking a story Jesus told to remind us of how the call to love and compassion can at times be so blatently obvious, yet some will still miss it for whatever excuse (racial prejudice, Pharisaical law-keeping, busyness, whatever), and replacing it with motivation by guilt that someone could possibly have fewer conveniences and luxuries than we have been blessed with?

    Motivation by love is of God. Motivation by guilt gives me a very uneasy feeling. Unfortunately, it’s been used by religious folks for years because it gets quicker results.

    My goal is not to justify passing by or to be argumentative, and I sincerely trust the hearts of you and the other commenters, Trey. I just think we might be missing something. Am I off base here?

    (submitted with much fear and trembling…)

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Shane … I didn’t take that as argumentative, but a point well made. I do think there is a big difference in helping someone in a life and death situation, and helping someone who’s inconvenienced. I still think it’s good to help the inconvenienced when we’re able to.

      I’ve driven past plenty of people who are having car trouble or a flat, knowing as they stand there talking on the phone, they’re getting help. No guilt. But, for me to drive past an accident or another situation that is grave, and not help, would be wrong.

      I hope the points that I really struggle with are …

      * I’m too busy, or in a rush, sometimes to help when I could.
      * My excuses for not helping probably aren’t any different than the Priest’s and Levies’. It’s easy for me to justify not helping when I should.

      I enjoyed your perspective on this, Shane.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor ... who moonlights as the senior minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage & randomness.
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