How many times do we drive past someone on the side of the road who is dealing with an empty fuel tank, dead battery, or flat tire? I was just thinking about some of the reasons we don't stop to help: maybe it's because we are too busy rushing to our final destination, or we don't want to get dirty, plus we've been warned about the dangers of talking with strangers, or maybe it's that we simply don't know much about vehicles and so we think it would be a waste to stop and have two people looking under the hood and scratching their heads about what to do (this is the category I often fall under).
So instead of stopping we offer a dose of drive-by help: words of wisdom like "that fool should have stopped to add more fuel before driving out into the country" or, "of all the places to break down, she picked a dangerous one and now she's putting the rest of us in danger..." Maybe rather than sarcasm we offer a little more spiritual help: "Lord, please keep that lady safe while she changes the tire in the rain" or "Thank You Lord for giving me a nice new vehicle that isn't prone to breakdowns like that pile of junk he drives". Finally, if we're not in a praying mood or not feeling particularly close to God we may simply wave or honk the horn as we drive by. Each of these is about the equivalent of a slap in the face if you're the one who is down on your knees in the mud trying to change a flat tire.
There is another option. Regardless of our lack of "know-how" in the automotive field, we could stop and wait with the stranded traveller. Rather than saying the prayer as we race by, we could stop and pray it with the brokedown driver and passengers. We may not know how to help, but slowing down long enough to say "I've had a flat tire before, if we both pitch in we'll get you back on the road in no time..." or "don't you worry about this, I know there have been times in my life where money has been too tight or I've been too busy to remember to get the fuel I needed for the journey. It may not fix the car, but it just might mend the person.
When Jesus was asked what it looks like to truly live, the simple and complicated answer was to Love God with all you've got and to love your neighbor like yourself. But then Jesus painted the picture of how we could do both at the same time by telling about the Good Samaritan. He said that when the good guy saw the broken down guy on the side of the road, "He took pity on him." and "He went to him..." If Jesus were a mathmetician he may have used the equation: Feeling + Going = Love your neighbor.
Last weekend we had the privilege of doing a Weekend to Remember conference in Bellevue, WA (our home area). We always love hearing the comments from guests who attend. Over the course of the weekend we hear many people share that they prayed to receive Christ at the conference (9 people this weekend!), or that this was the first time in years that they realized there was hope for their marriage. But one of the best comments we heard on Sunday was from a husband and wife who were walking out the door to leave after the conference was over when they stopped and walked back to our team and said "Thank You so much for coming here. We know that there are so many things that you could be doing, but it means so much to us that you came here for us."
"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." ~Edward Everett Hale