“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”Ephesians 2:10
It was a typical weekday, and we were on our way to pick up groceries I had ordered online. I told the boys to get a neighbor bag ready, because there is always a person with a sign asking for food at the parking lot entrance. On this particular day, however, we didn’t see anyone! Weird.
After picking up our groceries and turning back onto the main road, a man laying on the sidewalk caught my eye. He looked half dead, exactly as described in the parable of The Good Samaritan we were studying. “Boys! Look! Is that a person laying on the concrete?!”
“Yes! Yes! Stop! Stop! We have to stop and give him a Jesus Bag!”
This wasn’t someone that was standing at a stop light asking for food/money. He had four plastic bags around him, a gray scraggily beard, and his eyes were closed as he lay on his side on the ground next to a very busy street.
“I don’t know if we should,” I admitted.
“WHAT!? What do you mean?! We are IN the story of the Good Samaritan! STOP, ” the boys all yelled.
Before I knew what was happening, my foot slammed on the brakes, and my hand flipped on the blinker as we waited for traffic to stop so we could pull into a parking lot on the same side of the road as the man.
I continued talking out loud to my boys, “Okay, let’s think about this. We want to help him but I’m not sure if it’s wise for us all to walk up to him next to a busy road. What if he’s scared or tries to hurt us?” I felt like the Priest and the Levite who passed by on the other side of the road after seeing the injured man. “Lord, what do we do?” I asked out loud.
We sat for 30 seconds in silence, none of us could take our eyes off of the man as two year old Justice continued to repeat in his early language, “Man…on…concrete! Man….on…concrete!” Then, out of the BLUE a police car drove up!
After the officers checked on the man and he began to slowly open his eyes and get to his knees, Chip and Banks took a neighbor bag to one of the officers and asked if he would give it to the man. He thanked them for their kindness and said of course he would. Justice and I watched from the car as the officer gave the bag to the man.
Chip couldn’t believe that we had included a Chick -Fil-A gift card in the bag as the man had been laying 50 feet from that exact restaurant!
As we drove home, a sentence I had just read while preparing for our Month of Compassion played over and over in my mind.
“We are not saved by our good deeds, but we are saved for good deeds.”David Pawson, Unlocking the Bible
Once again, just when I think I may be teaching the boys a lesson on compassion, God gently reminds me that I have so much to learn.
“Boys, thank you for not letting us miss an opportunity to do something that God prepared for us to do! If I had been by myself, I would have missed it. Thank you.”
For the next two months, Justice prayed for the “man on concrete” every night from his baby bed. It is one of the most vivid memories I have, and I never want to forget seeing his little praying hands illuminated by the nightlight as he asked God to protect and be with that man.
What opportunities are we missing because we don’t have the faith of a child to stop and DO something simply because of our fear or busyness? As we end our Month of Compassion, let’s spend some time reflecting on these questions!