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.