As I was walking up to the baggage claim at the Houston airport, I tripped and fell. My purse and all its belongings splattered everywhere. From the ground, all I could see were feet trampling all around me. I thought, “Oh, please, people, don’t step on my new lipstick.”
I scurried to get it all picked up without making a huge scene. I gained my cool and sheepishly looked around to see if anyone I knew saw the great crash. Then it dawned on me that not one person had stopped to give me a helping hand.
I wonder if the Jewish man that traveled from Jerusalem to Jericho who fell on the side of the road and left as half dead felt the same way. The Bible tells the story in Luke 10. Do you remember the Good Samaritan? Two men passed by the wounded man: a priest who pretended not to see him and a Levite who turned his head. Until finally, the third man stopped, a Samaritan who bandaged up his wounds and carried him to the nearest innkeeper.
If you recall, it was the scribe, an expert in the Law of Moses, who arrogantly asked Jesus the question, “Who is my neighbor?” This question initiated Jesus’ response with the parable of the Good Samaritan that likely irritated the scholar at hand. The ancient Hebrews had little tolerance for this asset called self-sacrificial love. So I’m sure when Jesus answered the man’s question that he should find someone in need and do likewise, the scribe was insulted.
I have always considered the third passerby a well-noted good Samaritan. But there was another hero, as well – the innkeeper. He took this new visitor into his inn, not just to give a continental breakfast treat, but to nurse him back to health, to extend pity and to care for him for who knows how long! In my mind, he had the big job! He opened his heart to an inconvenience that would require something of him.
Thanksgiving is not only about us thanking God for our blessings, but it’s about us being a blessing to others – opening the ‘inn’ of our hearts, welcoming an inconvenience, and being the hands and feet of Jesus. For you, it might be inviting someone to your Thanksgiving table who’s facing a difficult transition: a widow, a new single mother, or a neighbor. For me, it might require buying a dozen warm neck scarves and visiting the homeless shelter. The inn keeper offered his bed. What is God asking us to offer?
There are people in need this Thanksgiving who have more to lose than a new tube of cranberry lipstick. Some are facing loss of self-respect and loss of hope. Jesus listened to the scribe who haughtily asked the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Christ not only responded with vigor but offered a command, “Remember the Good Samaritan? Now go, and do the same.” So GO we shall.
Hugs for a blessed Thanksgiving,