A couple of months ago, I was suddenly approached by a woman on my way out of my local library. She asked me if I could give her a ride to the bus station. True to my nature, I began my usual been-approached-by-a-stranger-and-don’t-know-what-to-do hemming and hawing. “Errr….well….umm….” In response to this, she said,
“I’m not a serial killer. I promise.”
And in the heat of the moment, my brain couldn’t come up with a rational response to that kind of plea so I said, “Okay.” I drove her to the bus station and the car ride was without incident (meaning without meat cleavers or blood). NOTE TO CRIMINALS: Apparently, you can give me a sincere take-you-by-surprise “I’m not going to steal your credit card number” and I’ll take you to meet my grandmother, if you ask nicely.
Now, I was probably in the middle of running (yes, actually running) errands so I could get home as quickly as possible and take a nap. Naps are very important to me. But I was presented with this opportunity (or bother) of stopping what I was doing and helping someone else. Was it my favorite thing to do? No, especially since I was putting my life on the line. But I feel like God gives me these opportunities and I need to take them.
For narcissistic America, the Bible holds a few inconvenient truths. One of them is that life is not about ourselves.
I know that’s kind of a rude awakening for some of us because it’s just so darn easy to make life about yourself. But, the truth of the matter is that Jesus, who had every right to claim that life revolves around him, put others first in a radical way. There’s countless evidence of Jesus being uncomfortable for the sake of others. Touching and healing lepers is one that comes to mind (Matthew 8). He took alot of social flack for hanging out with sinners (Luke 19). And…allowing himself to be hung on the cross seems like a pretty admirable thing to do for a bunch of screw ups that don’t deserve it.
One of the best stories about sacrificial love is the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. Now, everyone put their Sunday school mask down cause I’m fixing to retell this story in modern terms. (If you want the original, click here.)
Now a good old, politically conservative, boy was sightseeing around Oakcliff wearing his BUSH for PREZ shirt and looking for a Young Republicans meeting. He got jumped behind the Fiesta by a gang, who took his Nikes, wallet, and iphone, beat him up pretty good, and then left him laying in the grass across the street from the bus stop (in the original, the road from Jericho to Jerusalem was riddled with thieves).
It just so happened that Rush Limbaugh was also sightseeing in Oakcliff, but he was on his way to speak at an anti-Earth rally at a local Taco Bell. He saw our poor friend laying on the ground, all beat up, but he thought to himself, “I’m really busy and important and this Taco Bell speech is going on the WBAP network. I’ve got a deadline.” So, Rushy (as I affectionately call him) crossed the street and waited at the bus stop, listening to Mariah Carey on his ipod.
In an even crazier circumstance, Dick Cheney was on his way to meet George W. at his new Dallas house, but he got lost and ended up in Oakcliff. He was walking to the Fiesta to get directions when he saw the poor Republican boy. Cheney’s thoughts were, “Yikes, it is really hot here and my ticker’s not feeling so great. Stopping to help this kid would just make me sit here in the hot sun longer and keep me from seeing my old pal. I might even have to go to the hospital with him in one of those ambulances and I really hate driving in fast cars.” So Cheney made his way to Fiesta, avoiding the kid who needed help.
In the craziest circumstance of all, Hillary Clinton was riding her bike around Oakcliff to get som exercise and she happened upon our poor right wing friend. She was immediately appalled and pulled her bike out. She whisked her first aid kit out and began bandaging the kids wounds. She then put the kid on her handlebars and biked him all the way to Methodist hospital, where she made sure that he got the care that he needed.
Which of these three demonstrated sacrificial love?
Ta-da! Isn’t it shocking? (It probably would have been more shocking had Rush Limbaugh been our victim, but I don’t think Hillary could actually carry Rush on her bicycle. haha) In the real version, the twist of having the Samaritan help the Jewish man is a shocker because Jews despised Samaritans (and vice versa).
Many times a day, we are presented with opportunities to help that interupt our lives and inconvenience us. Whether it be a neighbor asking to borrow a few dollars or a coworker that needs to talk, Jesus calls us to be the good Samaritans in our day to day lives. In modern America, we’re taught to think “Me first”. We don’t normally let people inconvenience us by making us awkward or needing things from us more often than we would like. Jesus’ practice of loving like this is radical even in today’s society.
Even though I sometimes fight getting annoyed or angry about helping others, some of my greatest blessings have come from sacrifically loving people. Just thinking about your motives before you say “No” to something could be all it takes to love someone. Do it tomorrow- it might rock your world.