Sunday, September 11, 2011

To Whom Honor Is Due

Early in our marriage – and full of whimsy – my wife and I headed out from Dallas to East Texas to shop for Clydesdale horses (no foolin’).  In the midst of a torrential downpour, we saw car lights farther up the highway shining back at us – in our lane.  A station wagon with three generations in it had wrecked badly right in front of us.  I was the first person on the scene and rushed to the car to try to help.  Ten minutes later, the back seat of my car (the one with the lights on) held grandma, two of her daughters, and baby Jessica who was lapsing in and out of consciousness.  We raced to the nearest hospital.  While waiting to hear the health of baby Jessica, I had to make a call and update a friend on our whereabouts.  I grabbed the first phone I could find, at a nurses station.  Midway into my call, a nurse snapped angrily at me, “Who gave you permission to use that phone?”  I stared at her in disbelief given what I had been through in the last hour.  “No one,” I said, “and no one ‘gave me permission’ to rush Jessica to the hospital either, I just did it.”

I’m about to get torqued up all over again, let’s get a word from our Sponsor.
Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.  And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’  Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”  And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”  (Matthew 10:30-37)
I’m posting this item on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.  A sad and disgusting circumstance has arisen in New York City.  The current mayor (who shall not be named) of that town has excluded 9/11 first responders from the official memorial event because “We just don’t have room for them”.  I have two questions for the One-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, “Who will be there?  Who deserves to be there more than them?”  Thousands of police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel didn’t need “permission” to rush in and save lives that day.  Hundreds of first responders died that day because they did not wait for someone to explain that this was a fatally hazardous assignment – they just did it.

Followers of Jesus do not wait for an engraved invitation to meet a need – no matter how great or small.  And neither followers of Jesus nor NYC first responders do what they do for gratitude or celebration.  They simply do what needs to be done.  But having served sacrificially, they at least deserve recognition.  For two thousand years, the Good Samaritan has been held up as the kind of example to which we should all aspire.  You’d think in that whole Big Apple, they could find a few benches for those Good Samaritans to sit on.  They certainly deserve to be held up as examples of how we should all live.

By the way, a few weeks after the crash we heard from our impromptu guests.  Baby Jessica was LifeFlighted from the little Texas town to a hospital in Little Rock.  She spent a few days in the hospital, but had no lasting injuries.  Somewhere in the piney woods of East Texas, there’s a 27 year-old gal with a dreadful drawl… who never forgets to carefully buckle in her kids when she goes driving.  God has blessed you, Jessica.

Clark H Smith

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