The Good Samaritan – a Modern re-telling

I wrote this as an addendum to my regular devotional writing on my devotional blog: Daily Enduring Truth. I decided to share this here because I think the story, while simple, has an important message.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘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.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-29)

In reply, Jesus said to him, “A certain man was going down to Washington, D.C. to petition his congressman, when he was pistol-whipped and mugged. They stripped him of his clothes, his money, and his credit cards. They left him for dead and went on their way. A Libertarian drove up and looked at the half dead man. “Everyone knows this is a bad neighborhood. He should have made better choices. We’re all responsible for our own choices.” He shook his head and then went on his way. Then a Republican came along and looked at the man who was beginning to stir. “You know you could have prevented this,” he said as he patted his chest. “If you had just gotten your concealed carry license you wouldn’t be having these problems.” Then he drove away also smiling and patting his chest. Then along came a Democrat. When he saw the man he immediately got out of his car and made sure that man was breathing. He pulled out his first aid kit and bandaged the wounds. Then he put the man in his own car and drove him to the nearest hospital. When the nurse asked about the man’s insurance, he couldn’t reply, since he was still out of it, so the Democrat looked at her and said, “I’ll pay for everything, Just take care of him.” He pulled out his American Express® card to let her know that he was serious.

Jesus then said, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

We live in a world that is so politically charged that many will read this story wrong. Still, Jesus probably had some of the same problem. So, before you misinterpret this story, let me point out that I am an Independent Conservative, not a Democrat. That is why a Democrat is the hero of the story. If you are a Democrat, or even a liberal who doesn’t identify with the Democrat party, you need to have a Republican as the hero of the story. Switch the order and have the Democrat say something like, “Oh, that’s terrible. Someone ought to help him,” and then drive away while the Republican cares for him. The key is understanding the message of Jesus about loving our neighbor. We are called to be neighbors to all people: Republican or Democrat – even Libertarians, citizen or immigrant, Christian or non-Christian. Being a neighbor doesn’t mean thinking good things of the people around you; being a neighbor means being the kind of person who helps people in need without worrying about how they got there. Our job is to show mercy.

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The Sub

There is nothing worse for a teacher than having to take a sick day when you’re really sick. I still have to get special lesson plans done. I have to call in a sub, never knowing who I’ll get. Then…there are the notes. I’m mentioning this because, like I tell my kids, I never call in a sub unless I’m below 50% health wise.

Yep, you guessed it. I was out yesterday. The fever was over 100. I was coughing, sneezing and losing anything I ate one way or the other. I had chills from the fever and I was so dizzy I couldn’t see straight when I woke up. I was a mess!

I knew that I wouldn’t get better in an hour. I called the sub line and asked for a sub. I sure hoped that I had one – we’re so short on subs these days. I typoed some plans for the sub – hoping that the poor sub could make out the plans and emailed them to my Assistant Principal. I called her to make sure she knew not to expect me. Then, I went back to bed and slept without even worrying about whether a not a sub would be assigned.

I emerged from my death bed a couple of times to try and pour some soup down my throat; I soon realized that it wouldn’t help. My wife came home and checked on me a couple of times, but I’m not the “Oh baby come and pamper me” kind of sickie; I’m the “Go away and leave me alone!” kind of sickie. The sleep did it’s job, though, and by 8:00 that night, I realized this flu might not be terminal. By 10:00, I was able to crawl out of bed, take my night time medicines and crawl back into bed.

The next morning, the fever was gone. I was hungry! I ate a little bit and kept it down. I could make it back to school. I dreaded the note, but knew I could face it. Kids have an innate ability to know when I’m feeling bad, and for some reason they behave better on those days, so I wasn’t worried about that. It’s just how they behaved for the sub that worried me.

I pulled into the lot and was met by a couple of my students. “The sub was good, sir.” they took pains to inform me. That worried me. What did this sub let them get away with? I walked down the hall and got to the door. I breathed a quick silent prayer, and braced myself to see what the sub said as I opened the door.

I didn’t even need to read the note. I looked around the room and staggered a bit. I headed for the desk and plopped down in my chair. I couldn’t believe it. The sub had cleaned everything. My beautiful, workable mess was gone. It would take me days to recover. Two months of paper piles were now stacked neatly. No longer could I reach into a pile and pull out the papers I needed. I had a very short time to re-mess up the room to get ready for the day. I hate having to use subs….