A few days ago, I was pondering my next subject for this article while, at the same time, the parable of the good Samaritan was approaching on the horizon of my preaching calendar.
Just then, much to my surprise, WCCO-AM radio talk show host Chad Hartman came on the air in my mancave announcing, “Today the subject for our consideration is, ‘Not caring is not an option!’”
You can imagine the title referring to any number of social concerns that could have been on the discussion docket for the day, from gun violence to Roe v. Wade or the war in Ukraine to COVID-19, but apathy about any or all of them is unacceptable.
In the parable recorded in the tenth chapter of Luke’s gospel in the New Testament, the people you’d expect to be most likely to help a man robbed, beaten and left for dead by the side of a dangerous road fail to show any empathy or sympathy for the victim. Then a traveler you’d least expect to give any help at all provides rescue and extended medical care, plus food and lodging.
The genesis of the parable is in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” The answer is, “Your neighbor is anyone who needs you! And you are ‘neighborly’ whenever you show mercy!”
I’m the kind of caring guy who wants to keep up with the news and the neighbors and the needs, but lately I feel like I’m on caring option overload! I’m distraught about who’s being kicked to the side of life’s rugged road … the Ukrainians suffering war’s death and destruction, our own “Uncle Sam” as our democracy is threatened, our humanity as a semi-truckload of dead and dying migrants is parked by the side of a dirt road at our southern border!
The parable of the good Samaritan teaches that we must care! In Minnesota, it’s more than just an over-simplistic expectation … it’s the law!
Minnesota Statute 604A.01 GOOD SAMARITAN LAW, Subdivision 1. Duty to assist: “A person at the scene of an emergency who knows that another person is exposed to or has suffered grave physical harm shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to self or others, give reasonable assistance” … and so and so on.
More than this, as a person of faith, I believe … it’s the gospel! In Luke 22:27, Jesus said, “I am among you as one who serves.” Following his example and teaching, our marching orders are quite clear whenever we come upon the scene of an emergency.
Are these emergency times? If so, not caring is not an option!
Editor’s note: EPLN contributor Pastor Rod Anderson serves on the EPLN Board of Directors. Anderson is the former senior pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie. If you would like to contribute a faith-based column to EPLN, email firstname.lastname@example.org.