One of my favourite stories is known as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. For those unfamiliar with this tale, it is meant to answer the question, “who is my neighbour?” Or perhaps the more accurate question, “am I being a neighbour?”
Basically, the story is about an individual who gets beaten up while travelling and left for dead along the side of the road. Several community leaders, who you would expect to be “neighbours”, pass by without paying any attention to the individual, and use various rationalizations to justify their indifference.
Finally, the “good Samaritan” passes by. One who, in the story, would not be expected to be a “neighbour”; one who, to put it mildly in today’s vernacular, was someone from the other side of the tracks. It is this unlikely hero who stops and cares for the person who got beaten up. He takes the victim to a place of safety, cares for and then leaves enough funding to nurse the victim back to health. The “neighbour” in this story is the one who cares – who, when faced with a need before him, stops and takes the time to help.
He did not ask the beaten up person for their municipal residency status. There was no checklist to review to determine whether compassion and help would be offered. There was no calculation of long-term return on investment. Perhaps there was one checklist with one check box: did the person before him need help? Perhaps there was one calculation: given what is before me, can I help?
The answer to the question of the story is related more to action than to proximity. More related to what you do rather than to who you are.
I would like to think that this is the one checklist, the one calculation that the Men’s Mission uses- Are we able to help the immediate need?
Mission Services of London, Men’s Mission – loving God and loving others.
Written by Peter Rozeluk, Executive Director