The drive thru was busy that day. The customer in the car in front of me was receiving several drinks for a car full of people. All of a sudden his car door opened. He stood up as a pile of ice cubes fell off of his soaking wet pants. A wad of napkins hurriedly passed through the take out window. He soaked up what liquid he could from his pants and the seat of his car then got back in the driver’s seat and pulled into a nearby parking place. Since my car was next in line, I paid for my order but then the employee told me to park and wait for my order. So I parked right next to this other car, the one in front of me in the drive thru. I grabbed a roll of paper towels out of my trunk, put on my mask and walked over to him. He immediately accepted the paper towels and got to work cleaning up more of the mess in his car. I could see relief and thankfulness in his eyes when I handed him the roll of paper towels. Minutes later he came over to my car to return the paper towels. In broken English he thanked me then asked a question I wasn’t expecting. “Why you like this place? Why you like California?” I gave a very short answer due to the language barrier.
On the way home I wondered where he was from. Clearly he is far from home. This was a real person God gave me the privilege to help. God was reminding me there are needs outside of my house.
It reminded me of the good Samaritan parable in the Bible. Jesus told that story to illustrate who a good neighbor is. Obviously a spilled soda is very different situation than a man who was beaten and robbed beaten and left for dead beside the road. But if I’m right, and this car full of young men are from south of our border, here in a new land, meeting a good “neighbor” might have been just what they needed.
In the Bible a man asked Jesus, “who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “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.”
After the story, Jesus asked who was a neighbor to the man attacked by bandits. Or in my case, who was a neighbor to the man attacked by the large soda? Much like the Samaritan, who was on his way to somewhere or going home. I was getting hamburgers for my family. I honestly think God put this need in front of me for a reason. During this past year, I have been providing for my family’s needs at home because that is where we all have been because of Covid. But now we are able to get out more and hopefully resume a normal lifestyle. Perhaps my experience was God’s nudge to remind me that I will most certainly meet needs outside my front door. It’s my choice how I respond. Will I love my neighbor?
Love is kind.
Luke 10:29-37 NLT