I don't think that they intentionally failed to help. I don't think they meant to, set out to, purposed to, planned to. But........
A couple of weeks ago (out of desperation) I sent out a mass email to all of the men who had signed up to do prison ministry, it was men from several churches partnering with the Dept of Correction's Re-Entry Program. Quite a list of men, really. And only the men. I purposefully didn't send the email to any of the ladies. I was seeking to find a willing soul with a "donkey." Here is a copy of how my email read:
I have two guys from prison that needs transportation from any willing soul that can help them:
- One guy needs a ride to the airport on the 15th of September.
- Another (an older man) needs a ride to Prattville on September the 20th.
My email continued:
I keep thinking about the expert of the law that asked Jesus, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus' answer was to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" It's then that the man looking for a loophole asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"Jesus replied with a story. You know it well.
Once there was a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On his way, he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him, beat him, and left him half dead on the side of the road. A priest came along, but when he saw the man, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Levite came and did the same; he saw him too on his path, but passed him by, as well. The only man that didn't pass was a Samaritan. This man "saw" him too, as the other two had; but his heart went out to the wounded guy. In his "seeing"... he felt compassion for him and stopped to help him in his immediate need. Going over to him, he bandaged his wounds, put ointment on it, and then lifted the "beaten and robbed and left for dead man" and put him on his own donkey in order to give him a ride to an inn so that he could be taken care of.
Here (on the 15th and 20th), we have an opportunity for two guys to borrow someone's "donkey." They've been robbed and stripped and wounded too.... even if self-inflicted, by the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. They, also, will be put out and left on the side of the road... hoping for some man of compassion to stop to help them. They don't need a ride to an "inn"... but one to the airport, and another to a friend's. I'm sure it would be nice to them if they had a "donkey" of their own so that they wouldn't have to ask to borrow ours. But being that they don't, I'm just looking for a Good Samaritan and a few minutes of their time. And woe, it's a great time and opportunity to share and show Jesus! I love picking up the ladies... I can't even begin to tell you the reward in it!
And... if you are unable to... but know someone who might can, please pass the message along. Thank you. And God bless!
It was what happened next (after emailing).... or the failure of what next happened... that both surprised and disappointed me. Out of all of those men, not one of them responded. No one offered. No one said a word. All of them saw. But they all "passed by." No one... not even one... stopped to offer to help either of them.
I'm sure their failure wasn't out of spite. I'm sure that each thought another somebody else would "see" and help. I'm sure most were busy with their jobs... and that some really couldn't get off. I'm sure they didn't feel the real need, the desperation, the great need for help.
But, isn't that what all of us too often do at times? We sign up to help. We intend to. We plan to. We want to. Our hearts are truly pulled to it. But when the time comes, we just don't feel the true compelling to. We're busy. On the way to wherever we're going on our own road. And we "pass by"..... we "pass by".... we "pass by" way too many people that are begging to truly be seen who truly, truly, truly, really, really, really, really do need our help.
Oh Lord, please help me not miss those sitting in my path just waiting to be seen and needing a little bit of assistance! I've been the stripped-and-beaten-and-left-for-dead-man-on-the-side-of-road.... and YOU, Lord, have NEVER passed me by! Dare let me to pass by another. Help me to "see"!!! MOVE ME with YOUR compassion!!!... passion that doesn't pass by, but that comes to the need of another!
"'You must love the Lord your God will all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love you neighbor as yourself.'".......
After telling the story of the Samaritan, Jesus continued, "'"Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?" Jesus asked. The man replied, "The one who showed him mercy." Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same." - Luke 10:36,37
Yes! Now go! And do the same!
"Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble." - Ps 41:1