You’re busy. You’ve got a lot going on in your life. Places to go. Things to do. There never seems to be enough time to get it all done, right? And you can’t do everything, and you’ve got plenty of stuff to deal with in your life. Even with all of that, when you find that someone could use your help, you are probably there ready to lend a hand when you can. But you can’t help or save everyone, right? So how do you decide when to step in?
Tonight I listened to the last speech that Martin Luther King Jr. gave before he was assassinated. I have a friend who has been referencing elements of this speech lately, so I thought I would go and take a listen. It’s a tremendous speech with so many wonderful pearls in it that are still so relevant to today more than forty years later (I’m so glad I listened!). Perhaps the thing that stood out to me the most was Dr. King’s recounting of how the good Samaritan in the parable reversed the question and asked “If I do not stop and help this man, what will happen to him?” instead of “What will happen to me if I stop and help this man?” And so the good Samaritan helped the stranger in need.
With all of our business, with all of the life that we have going on, with all of the distrust that we may have for others these days – whenever we find that someone is in need, whether we know him or not, we should begin to ask the question “If I don’t help this person, what will happen to him?” Because when we ask this question, we are able to imagine what the plight of this person might be like if no one helps. When we do this, maybe even for just a moment, we are able to put ourselves in the shoes of the other person and have a bit of compassion.
And once we let our mind begin to fathom the answer to that question, we are then able to determine for ourselves whether we will be good Samaritans or not. It is my hope that more often than not, more of us will choose to be.